They told me "Be grateful".

They told me be grateful

He loves me. They told me to be grateful. He takes care of another man's child. They told me be grateful, you see, our son is loved unconditionally. They told me to be grateful. So on the nights when his fist sometimes hit my face, Or his feet may have kicked me down the stairs, Or when he throws me out the house and I turn to family, I am reminded that they told me to be grateful because he loves me. So I repeat be grateful! As I return home be grateful! When I lose a friend because I chose him be grateful! My family needs to stay together. No one else will want me, I have two children, I have to stay grateful. He reminds me that I provoke him religiously. I know better, he is very particular. He told me what I do to upset him daily. I should get better at loving him so that he doesn't sleep out nightly. He explains that she is providing something I am lacking. If I get better at being his wife he will stay home more It's my fault I reason and remember that I should be grateful.

His love for me is all-consuming, no one will ever love me like he will. In the moments where his voice booms off the wall or his fist crashes against my face or his anger spills over to destroying things at home, I will apologize again because I know it's because of something I did. People on the outside see the love he has for our family. They admire the care he has for us, he is a great father. Yes, his anger sometimes frightens the kids, but they love their father endlessly. Everyone sees the love he gives, there is no need for me to leave.

My best friend, the only friend that has stayed, tells me I should leave. But I always wonder, leave to go where? A single mother of two, who will help me? Who can love me like him? I don't need help. So what if sometimes he gets a little angry. On days like today, when his punches are a bit heavier, I deserve it. Although his hands are now around my throat, I am fine and after it's done I will clean up and do better next time. I have awakened from blackouts before. He loves me, this moment will pass. Don't fight him and it will all be over. I open my eyes I feel nothing but numb to all the pain.

Tears roll down my face as I look at her resting in her forever slumber. No matter how much I pleaded with her to leave, she fought me and told me ..." but girl, he loves me, there is nothing to worry about. He will never hurt me" I cried. Begged. Bargained. Every day I saw her and the marks he left on her skin. Bruises she blamed on her being too clumsy. The times she couldn't see me because of some flimsy excuse. Even when we both know it was probably to recover from incidents. I told her to leave, she was always welcomed. I will find a way we could protect her. We will figure it out, there are people who will help us.

As she is lowered to rest, I hear through the fog of my grief a resigned sigh, followed by" well at least now it's over, she is no longer in pain." Anger enters my grief with this statement As it has always been, her family wants to control how she feels Even from the grave, they want her to be grateful for this day.



Trinidad and Tobago resources for Domestic Violence Victims:

Resources for Domestic Violence

Trinidad Shelter