Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Ten Years. I am grateful.

25 Comments

IMG_3959May 21. To everyone else, it is just a day.

To me, it is cause for celebration. Reflection. Gratitude.

Ten years ago today, I was given the miracle of my life. Ten years ago today, I was set free from a relationship that was killing me. A relationship that, had the police not walked in on this morning ten years ago today, I would not be alive to celebrate today.

I am grateful.

I was thinking about this date yesterday as Ellie, the wonder pooch, and I shared a walk along the path that skirts the reservoir. It is one of our favourite walks. On the ridge, walking east, the city stretches out to the north, the towers of downtown just visible between distant trees. Walking east, we look out over the water, towards the south shore where two apartment towers look back. At this time of year, the waters run low, the alluvial plains leading into the reservoir exposed. Soon, spring run-off will begin to race down from the mountains, filling the plains, submerging the willows and alders that are rooted in their silky soil. For now, the water runs in snaky rivulets towards the basin that is held in place by the damn at the far eastern edges of the reservoir.

IMG_3954When we turned and walk westward, back towards the mountains, the city disappeared behind us, leaving wilderness and snow-capped peaks in our view, and a sky that soared into infinity where clouds and sun frolicked in the evening breeze.

I used to run this path when ‘the man who shall not be named’ held thrall upon my being. I would run and keep my eyes peeled for errant cars following me, for men in dark shirts and black pants whose eyes sought out where I was, where ever I went. When I ran these paths ten years ago, I had no eyes for the beauty, no senses to fill with the smells and sights and textures of my environment. My entire being was filled with fear and loathing. My heart was cold, my body colder. Ten years ago, when I ran these paths, I knew only the yearning to die. I longed to erase my presence from the world. To wipe out all memory of my having passed this way. I wanted only to set my daughters free of remembering me so that they could carry on their lives as if I had never happened. I wanted to die.

IMG_3955Yesterday, as Ellie and I walked along the ridge, I felt the spring air upon my cheeks. I revelled in the warmth of the sun against my back. I smelt the green grasses, the hint of sage, the earth coming into bloom. I listened to the sounds of children laughing, of families sharing a meal around a picnic bench. A game of tug-o-war. A boy riding a bike with training wheels. A skateboarder. A rollerblader. More bikes. More families. Laughter. Voices. Many languages. People walking. A sailboat on the water. A seagull swooping. A robin hopping in the grass. A deer walking through the foliage. There was life unfolding all around me and I was part of its majesty, mystery and miracle.
Yesterday, as Ellie and I walked, my heart knew only joy. My senses only wonder. Yesterday, as I walked, I felt life stirring all around me. I saw the beauty and the wonder of the day. I treasured the air, the sun, the wind, the joy of being present in that moment, simply because, I was present in that moment.

It has been ten years.

IMG_3965Ten years of wonder, of joy, of growth. Of sifting through the pain and sorrow to find the beauty and awe and miracle of my life today. My life filled with love, with family and friends, with thoughts of tomorrow, with wonder for this moment. Ten years of living beyond the past, free from abuse, free from fear and loathing, free from wanting to die with every breath. Ten years of knowing, I am Alive and loving every breath I take.

It has been ten years.

I am grateful.

Namaste.

Advertisements

Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

25 thoughts on “Ten Years. I am grateful.

  1. LG,

    Glad you made it – not today, but 10 years ago. Your climb-out is a story you’ve told often and well, so show that difficult need not spell OVER, that life can begin again, flourish again and new life can emerge.

    Good job.

    Mark

    Like

  2. I too am glad you can see the beauty past the pain. Your post is a great reminder how we miss the beauty that was always there because something we think is bigger is blocking our view! I too came from abuse. Perhaps a different kind of abuse… but one at the hands of a guy I was engaged to that I allowed to control me more and more until I was out of control. I remember driving with him, pressed up against the passenger’s side of the door and looking out the window at other couples laughing and chatting freely and wondering what I did to deserve the mess I was in. I know now it was nothing. I just thought I could change him. Funny how I have been in relationships since… 14 years the first time and now it will be 20 this year… and how that ONE impacted me more than anything I can explain. To the point of him finding me again… 3 decades later to apologize and me almost blowing what I have now to go back and try to fix what was so broken back then. I guess they call that co-dependency… At least that is what my marriage counselor called it. Thank God he sent me my husband. My hero. The one who put up with my crazy blip. WHAT was I thinking????
    I guess that I wanted to have a DO OVER and fix the teenage girl I left back there still battered and bruised and so emotionally scarred.
    YOUR story sounds much more dangerous but I know about the looking over your shoulder and feeling stalked… though it was only 3 years back then… I think those of us who have experienced an inkling of what you share feel that bond of “KNOWING” when someone asks “Why didn’t you just leave?” It is so much more complicated than that. Enough where I am writing a book about it. I want to reach out to the young girls before they get in too deep. I told my daughter if anyone ever shows the least bit of a controlling chip or a temper~ RUN like the wind!!!!! And my mantra was her template. She has an amazing man now. If my story can help just one person; it is worth it! But that my daughter learned from it… I am blessed! Though I do hope that stories like “OURS” are not in vain but can be used for good to help the young girls and in my case… the middle aged women to not get sucked back in!!!!! WHAT was I thinking?! You probably wonder…. But the thing is we all have different stories… and yours touched me today. As it has so many other times when you have shared bits and pieces.
    And now my dear… you have inspired me to go on a walk…..
    xoxo

    Like

    • Thank you Diane. Your words are a balm to my soul. I think it is easy to ‘judge’ another when we haven’t had the experience — and to judge ourselves for having had the experience! I love how you have taught your children the importance of listening to their inner voice. To knowing when to cut and run. To be willing to step free when feeling trapped. Such important lessons.

      I don’t think it’s the severity of the encounter that hurst so much as our shared experience of what happened within us — and within us, we both experienced the hopelessness, the defeatism and the feeling of being less than — which is why, I think, it can be so tempting to go back. Somehow, we think, if I can go back and fix what was broken…. it won’t be broken and then I’ll be free! πŸ™‚

      And then, we awaken to discover, it was never meant to be anything than what it was — the past. That was then, this is now.

      Thank you for inspire me with your story — I can’t wait to read your book!!!! If you want a pre-launch reader, let me know! I’d love to help.

      Blessings my friend. Hope you enjoyed your walk.

      Louise

      Like

      • I did. Thank you! I might not have gone without your inspiration. I feel that in a way about all the things you hold dear now. Metaphorically speaking, you are one of the greatest platforms for women everywhere as you celebrate this decade of freedom! Thank you for being willing to share your story so that others might feel they are not alone. Back in the day… I felt I was the only one going through it. Today, there is so much more courage out there and willingness to share our stories so that others might find the courage too, when they realize they don’t have to put up with it.

        My daughter told me a story that she walked by a young couple. The guy was cursing and yelling at her in a car… she wanted to stop and tell the girl “You don’t have to take this” Let me drive you to where ever you want to go” She was all in her fairy garb (She is an actress in LA and on the weekends makes good money being a fairy for kid’s parties on the weekends…lol) and was her way to a job so she just stood there staring the guy down. It got him to stop long enough to cool down. Even though it was a sad story. Ya gotta see the humor in it. That girl must have thought that her fairy God Mother appeared for her. She said as she walked away she knew that she had gotten him to get a grip. So for the time being, the situation had diffused. So sad to think of how many young girls allow guys to talk to them that way and who knows what else and keep going back.
        I loved your reply to me… YOUR words are epic to me!!!! >>>>It was never meant to be anything than it was<<<<
        epic!!!!! Your words are like that balm for me that you talk about! So glad we found each other!

        And though my book is still in rough draft form… if you want to start with chapter one… I'd love to hear your feedback. I think I have about nine or ten chapters posted on my blog that tell my story through my heroine named Keri. If you go to http://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com
        and google chapters… they will all pop up as you have time.
        Thank you my friend… my sister… survivor! πŸ˜‰
        xoxo

        Like

      • I will! I love. love. love the joy in your response! And the story of your daughter — though as you said, a sad example of what does happen, is brilliant! Fairy godmother rises to the occassion. (I can never spell that word!)

        And yes, how we find eachother in this space is wonderful — such an amazing circle of women, sharing, caring, learning, growing and inspiring! Hugs

        I’ll check out your site tonight. Off to the office now!

        Hugs — have a brilliant day! I am.

        Like

  3. I am so grateful too, and that you share your story so beautifully in this space.
    I recognise many of the feelings you describe from your life ten years ago and while our circumstances are very different, there is hope in the fact that you have found light and joy again.
    I am approaching 8 years since the day I made the promise to remain here, no matter how dark it gets and naturally spend time reflecting on similar things, memories from those long years and the dreams I had hoped to find in this present…
    As always, only option is to keep going despite the darkness,
    thank you for sharing your journey.
    I think there should be cake to celebrate the joy you have found in these days! xx

    Like

    • And Laura, I am so grateful that you continue to take it one day at a time. That you continue to stay true to your commitment. The world needs more of you! Much, much more! And yes, cake!!!! πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. Happy re-birthday!

    Like

  5. Raising my glass to you again, as always.

    Like

  6. Wow, now this is definitely something worth rejoicing in! What a wonderful post Louise!

    Like

  7. Ahh now this is an anniversary to be celebrated! Congratulations to you Louise.
    xo

    Like

  8. YAY. Happy 10th BIRTHday, Louise! Thank you for your honesty in sharing with us; as always it is refreshing and humbling. Wishing you a day of nothing but peace and love! : )

    Like

    • Thank you my young friend Katie! Your voice is always such a joy to hear — ok, in this case — read. It is a day of peace and love. It is a day to dance!!!! and sing and leap about. πŸ™‚ Hugs

      Like

  9. Hello. When I wrote my last blog-pot on my ‘epiphany’, I actually thought of you. You had previously written about the “moment” of your decision ten years ago when you chose life. Posts like that sank into my sub-conscious. They have in their own small way now helped me climb my own way out of my own hole. Nothing can describe how one feels when one is down in that hole, in all the mud and gloom. To know that even way down there, you can still choose a different direction, that others before you have chosen a way out and survived …… that has buoyed me towards me own life-changing decision.
    Thanks so very much for sharing this story many times.
    I am so so happy for you that you are here with us ten years later, contributing so much, and living life to the full.
    πŸ™‚

    Like

    • Thank you Elizabeth — my heart is deeply touched by your words. When my words connect with another, when they too feel the call ‘to live free’ I am strengthened and inspired. I love the reciprocity of our sharing — I grow from your words, you from mine and the circle continues.

      Let’s keep growing and sharing and living wild and free for as long as time shall be for you and me!

      Hugs πŸ™‚

      Like

  10. I am grateful too, I am grateful that I have come across your blog which is so inspiring and uplifting…………10 years is not small feat but I am sure you have may more wonderuful years ahead of you

    Like

  11. Thank you Joanne! I am grateful you come and share as part of this circle — I always get a lovely feeling of centredness and joy in your presence. Hugs to you my friend.

    Like

  12. You are a such an inspiration spreading positive energy and hope to all. I am so glad that you have been able to heal and find your way back to safety. Love and peace to you & your daughters.

    Like

  13. Bless you β™₯β™₯β™₯

    Like

  14. Pingback: A new job. New beginning. New everything! | Dare boldly

This conversation needs your brilliance to shine. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s