Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Unforgettable Thank You

I don't know her name. But I'll never forget her words. I think of them whenever spring's first warm rays of sun beat down on my shoulders... and into my heart.

We were at a public event and she took me aside and told me she’d been a client at DVRC. She said she never even thought of herself as a domestic violence victim (she’d never been physically abused), and only came to our agency at  the suggestion of a friend.

She’d been in this relationship for several years and the verbal and emotional abuse just became normal for her,

“Our relationship was like that for so long I didn’t even think about it anymore. It was like the last weeks of winter when it’s been cold and gray for so long you forget what warmth feels like. You forget about green buds on bushes and the colors of flowers. It’s just gray and cold.

Then I came to DVRC and spoke to a counselor and my life changed. I realized my partner’s constant criticism and anger were his problem, not a reflection of me. That day was like that first warm day in spring. You know the day. It’s when you walk outside and look up at the sky then take your sweater off for the first time in so many months… and you bask in the warmth of the sunshine.

Coming to DVRC was the day that ended the longest winter of my life.”

Whenever the first warm days of spring come I think of her words, and give thanks.

§  First I give thanks to her for so eloquently reminding us why we do this work.

§  Then I give thanks to my staff. Every day-- 24 hours a day –they help people through the crisis, help them transform their lives. Hearing stories of abuse day in and day out can be overwhelming. But they do it because they make a difference. This was just one woman. DVRC helps 1,000 people (men, women and children) just like her each year.

§  Lastly, I give thanks that someone out there cared enough about a friend to tell her so and directed her to DVRC.  It takes courage to start that conversation, but think what a difference it made for this woman. If you know of someone who may need help, talk to them. No winter should last forever.

Related post:
Be a Friend. Break the Silence http://maggiefronk.blogspot.com/2013/03/be-friend-break-silence.html

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