Nobody Said It Was Easy. No One Ever Said It Would Be This Hard

I’d like to say that once I got back to Canada things got better fast. But that would be a complete lie. It was hard. There were so many stressful factors I didn’t even consider when thinking the whole “leave E” thing through.

My parents let us stay with them for which I am so very grateful for. Plus my parents were SO happy to have their grandkids back from Kenya for good. We figured out a reasonable rent amount, and each of us had our own room downstairs in the house I grew up in. It was nice to have built in babysitters with my parents but to be honest I never really went out. So most nights it was me watching TV in between my parents on the couch. So very cool, I know.

It took us about a week to get settled and over the jet lag. We took many trips to Value Village and Goodwill (thrift shops) to outfit the kids with winter clothes and a few toys. Considering we had just moved from +30 degree weather to February in Canada (like minus a zillion) it’s an understatement to say we were underdressed and ill prepared.

I was still officially on maternity leave with Z so that helped financially for a bit, but I had huge credit card bills to pay off mainly from flights, E’s most recent one to and from work included, so I had to think about what I was going to do to support my kids. I had 3/4’s of my teaching degree already under my belt, but at this time I really didn’t feel like it was my thing. I figured if I was going to go back to school anyway, I might as well make sure it was something I was really wanting.

So I started taking multiple personality tests to see what kind of traits I had and which jobs they matched well with. I needed to make sure I made the best choice because I couldn’t mess anything up. I had little people looking up to me. After at least a dozen quizzes (no joke, I had a lot of time on my hands, plus I had really missed the internet) I narrowed my decision down to the area of accounting/HR that I though suited me well. I found a program close to home that offered an accounting degree and payroll certification for across Canada start to finish in 10 months. The program was designed to be intense but for a faster finish. Sounded perfect for me, since I needed to be back in the work force ASAP making as much money as possible. I applied, got accepted and started all within a week.

I had to find childcare for my kids which was hard since I didn’t even have a regular babysitter. It took me a little while, but I found the perfect dayhome for them 2 minutes from my parents house and on the way to school. The kids loved it and D was an amazing lady.

Now I had to buy a vehicle. Remember I was starting everything from scratch. I looked around for a while at second hand ones that I could buy straight out with cash, but couldn’t find one I really liked, and that didn’t have any issues. I didn’t want to be dealing with car troubles along with all the other troubles I had going on at the time. I ended up going to a dealership and buying the most beautiful brand new Rogue for myself straight off the lot. It was the nicest thing I had ever owned/done for myself and it actually made me happy every time I looked at the car. I’ve had to sell it since then to buy my house so I currently drive a bucket of bolts I hate, but one day I’ll get myself a nice car again.

Then, there were the people I had to deal with. OHHHH the humanity. Where to even start.

My mom just kept comparing my divorce to hers like a gazillion years ago and the similarities were few and far between yet I was supposed to do everything how she had done it and all the advice was in her opinion super helpful… It wasn’t. She kept telling me about different laws that were so outdated, or paperwork I should file that didn’t exist anymore. It was frustrating. I just wanted to be able to tell her what was going on without her telling me what to do. I just wanted her to listen. But that’s not my mom.

Then at a family get together about a month after I’d gotten back, my older sister R felt it was a good time to give me her opinion on my life. Now R is very dedicated to her Christian faith (her and her husband J are Pastors) and from her perspective, I shouldn’t divorce E. I should “separate from him. Separate forever, but don’t ever divorce” Also she felt it was appropriate timing to tell me that, if I choose to remarry, her and her family would not be attending my second wedding. Her and her husband didn’t believe in divorce and remarriage and therefore wouldn’t support it.  Unless he had cheated on me. (Apparently that kind of abuse is ok according to God’s break up plan?) She felt she was being kind by giving me a heads up on this. I hadn’t even officially filed for divorce yet (I hadn’t even decided to get a divorce yet, I’d just flown back like a month ago and was still sorting out my life) and you’re already talking about my hypothetical second wedding? It was frustrating and made me feel like no longer discussing E with her.

*Since this time R and I have discussed this moment and I explained how it made me feel, and R has apologized for making that comment at that time and the insensitivity of it all. I have forgiven it and we have moved past it, still no update on her families attendance at a hypothetical second wedding though lol*

Anyways then in April, my little sister’s boyfriend D wanted to propose, and asked for my help because her and I were so close. The last thing I wanted to do while dealing with my divorce from an abusive crazy ex is help other people in happy healthy relationships get engaged. Petty? Yes, very, but also it was my truth.  But I helped anyways. I wanted to cry the whole time, but I helped. I also must’ve subconsciously been pissed because I was supposed to record the whole proposal on my phone, and I honestly thought I was videoing the whole thing, but when we went to watch it after there was no video. I don’t know if I forgot to press record or what, but I honestly felt terrible. Either way, she got a beautiful ring on her finger in a room full of her family and friends and flowers. I know she’ll remember it forever without the video… I hope :/  Irregardless, it was a MUCH better proposal than mine, good job D.

My dad sort of kept to himself about the whole thing. That was his style though. Mostly just let my mom do her thing.  But when my sister got engaged, I’ll always remember he brought up the whole “don’t you dare hurt my daughter, or I’ll kill you speech” And in that moment I was so mad at him. It was the same speech he had given E. I was his daughter. I had been hurt. And Dad… you did nothing. You literally did nothing. In the one moment I NEEDED someone to keep their promise to me, to protect me, to keep me safe. You did nothing. For a few weeks all I could think about when I looked at my Dad was how he let me down. I obviously don’t condone violence, and I didn’t actually expect him to do anything to E. But I did want him to shut his mouth about it. It was so hypocritical and made me feel like maybe I wasn’t worth it to him. It took me a while to get over it, and still bothers me to hear him talk about it. I’d rather hear him say nothing than false promises like that.

Then on top off all this, I had constant calls, emails, Facebook messages, texts you name it, from E and his family. Harassing and threatening me at every turn. I blocked all sorts of numbers and they would just call from other phones. Then, they started bothering my mom on Facebook.

Ahh good ol family.

It was no wonder that I became depressed and suicidal by the Fall of 2014.


-Coldplay/Scientist-

 

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now If I Go There Will Be Trouble And If I Stay It Will Be Double

I spent the next couple of days in what can only be described as a fog. I was there. I was alive. But I was definitely not thinking clearly. Everything was blurry. Fuzzy. I couldn’t concentrate on any of the mundane day to day things that needed to be done. The kids needed to be fed… I’m sure they were, I mean they’re still alive today right? They needed to be dressed, I remember seeing them walking around in clothes and then at night in pajamas but I have no idea how they got from one to the other. Diapers were changed, but I can’t for the life of me remember by whom. Life just happened. I apparently didn’t need to be 100% present for the world to keep on turning. E would be leaving in a few days back for work in Canada, and I just had to make it until then.

I did my best to avoid any talk of what happened on Sunday. His various family members came to visit, and I stayed in my room. I left the house with the kids to visit neighbors at every opportunity possible. Basically, if there was an chance to be away from E, I jumped at it.

Of course he apologized profusely, and constantly. But it wasn’t something I wanted to hear at the time. I told him it was fine, and that I was done with it, but it was more that I was done talking about it and didn’t want to discuss it anymore, than the fact that I had forgiven him in that moment.

No I didn’t feel comfortable around him. No I didn’t want him in my bed at night. No I didn’t want him touching me.

But on the other hand, I was trying to lessen the uneasiness in Little E’s eyes. I wanted him to feel like everything was OK and that there was nothing wrong. I wanted him to be comfortable and happy. I didn’t want him to be scared every time he heard E enter the room… Like I was deep down.

I only had to survive the next 3 days until this man was gone. If I  could get through it, then I would have some space to clear my head and think.

Unfortunately, the 3 days weren’t smooth sailing. Ha story of my life.  I’m drawing a blank about the correct terminology but, a council of sorts was called regarding E’s behavior. The local elders and the Chief all gathered at my house one morning and discussed (in Kiswahili, no less) the circumstances that had occurred on Sunday. I had no input in the conversation that was centered around me.

In fact, as a white woman I wasn’t even allowed to take part in the conversation. I was relegated outside to the kitchen with the kids who interpreted as much as they could for me as they ran back and forth to keep me informed. But the jest of it, was that what E had done was bad, and he shouldn’t do it again… No shit Sherlock. At the end I remember they called me in and asked me if I agreed and I straight up told them I had no idea what they said, and it was rude of them to talk about me, without me, in a language I don’t fully understand, without invitation. And that they were welcome to leave my house now. I was done with people thinking they could discuss my life and somehow think talking about it would solve all my issues. Because trust me, it was NOT helping. So that was the end of that council.

Once E left Kenya for work near the end of the week, I immediately felt the change in the house. Our farm boy and I had many conversations about how he thought E was a “bad man” and he didn’t want to work for us any more. I asked him to stay with us until E came back since I didn’t know anyone else available/capable/trustworthy and I couldn’t handle the farm on my own. He agreed to stay. For now.

My in-laws were constantly dropping by “just to visit.” Mmmhmm, sure. I’ve been living here for how many years, and now all of a sudden you want to come over and see how the kids and I are doing? Screw off. My father-in-law literally came over everyday, 5 days straight on his way back from town with a yogurt for Little E, or raw beef for the dogs. He would boss my farm boy around and annoy my house girl. He’d only stay for about 10-15 minutes but it became the most frustrating part of my day. Especially when I could go for months without seeing him previously. Just how I liked it.

My neighbors were constantly at my house, just because. A few of the pre-teen boys skipped school for a couple days and I would see them around the yard helping my farm boy until I had a discussion with them about the importance of school. They told me they just wanted to help me out because they felt bad about what had happened. I told them I truly appreciated it, but school was much more important and they could come hang out after.

My house girl finally quit after being harassed by my father-in-law so much. Apparently she wasn’t doing well enough according to his standard. I had no one to help now. So my neighbors would come by every day to help me with the basics. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d gotten pretty good at life in the village, but it takes two for sure. If I needed to cook something, I had to first gather wood, and start a fire out in the kitchen on the dirt floor between 3 carefully placed stones that would hold up the pot over a fire I had to build. If I wanted to shower, same process, but I also had to haul the water from the well. The clothes all had to be hand washed, so that meant hauling water every day, and then hanging them up to dry. We had no electricity so groceries had to be bought everyday fresh, since there was no fridge to store anything, so that meant at least a 3 Km walk one way for anything.  Dust was everywhere, so the floor had to be swept and washed daily. Not to mention the kids and the basics of keeping them alive. It was a two person job for sure. And now since my father-in-law had felt the need to stick his nose in, I was a (wo)man down. I wasn’t pleased.

One day I just needed to get away from the house and all the bustle. I decided to take Little E to pre-school in town instead of him taking his normal bus (Yeah they start pre-school at 3 years old there). I wanted some quiet time away from everyone who was trying to help. I hadn’t had free time completely to myself to process that Sunday yet. There had just been to many people in and out of my house, too many fake apologies, too many people saying “just forgive him.” All I needed was myself and my mind, unencumbered by other peoples perspectives and unhelpful advice. Thinking they knew what was best for me, but not knowing me. So I asked a neighbor to watch Z for a bit while I took Little E took school and did some grocery shopping and we were on our way.

After I dropped Little E off at school, I walked. Plain and simple. I walked. The entire length of Kakamega and back. I made a pros and cons list in my head about leaving vs. staying with E and all the ramifications. I thought through every step that would have to happen in either circumstance. Which one would be more beneficial for myself and the kids.

Was I strong enough for either situation?

Was I capable of leaving him?  Would I be able to be a single mom? I never had a chance to finish my teaching degree, since I got pregnant with Little E, and E’s refugee denial. Plus since then, we’d been flying back and forth between countries since E couldn’t decide what was what… I had no home to go back to. I had no job. What I did have though, were two kids whose lives I was responsible for. Two children who didn’t choose this man. Two kids who deserved all the best life had to give them, and that wasn’t happening if I stayed here with E.

So, by the time I had made my way from one end of town and back, I had decided. I had made the choice to leave E. I called my mom right there on the street and told her. I asked if the kids and I could stay with my parents when we got back into the country. I needed to tell someone right away or I felt like I wouldn’t follow through and I needed to be held accountable for this choice. After my mom said of course we could stay with them, I hung up the phone and headed to the house E and I had built from scratch, brick by home-made brick. That I had paid for 100% from my pocket since he just played rugby and farmed. And hatched the plan to get out of the country.

When I opened my laptop to search for flights, I noticed the date.

It was Valentines Day, 2014.

The day I gave myself the most loving gift anyone ever has. The decision to leave an abusive marriage.


-The Clash/Should I Stay Or Should I Go-

You Should Have Put A Ring On It Don’t Be Mad Once You See That He Want It

E had big hands. Huge hands. Like it was ridiculous. We went multiple times to different jewelry stores looking for the perfect wedding ring for him. I asked him so many questions about what he would like, what did he want it to look like, how big, what style. I really wanted him to like his ring. The issue though, was his fingers. His fingers/hands/knuckles what have you, had been broken/injured so many times playing rugby that finding a ring to fit was proving to be more effort then it was worth in the end. Any ring that would fit over his knuckles would just hang loosely around the base of his finger once on.

I researched so many options because I wanted it to be perfect for him. I found a company that will take a ring and put a clasp in it, so you could open it and then once on, tighten it, similar to a watch. The cost to alter a ring was crazy but worth it (I thought at the time) for E to comfortably wear his ring. Since we would be spending a fair amount on the customization, my dad offered his dad’s ring for us to use to save us money on the gold. My Nonno had passed away years before and my dad had been holding unto that ring tightly. He didn’t even offer it to my older sister when she got married.

I accepted the ring and knew the importance of it to my Dad in regards to the memory of my grandfather. E just kinda was glad to get it for free. Because I know for sure he didn’t value it at all.

After the marriage, any time we had the littlest disagreement, he took the ring off.  If anything escalated into an argument, he would take that important part of my family history and walk outside the front door and would chuck it. Normally way over the roof in a dramatic fashion. In fact we didn’t even have to be arguing. One time he did it because I simply asked him if he got high after a game. The first time I found it in the backyard while weeding and stupidly gave it back to him. The next time our neighbor was mowing his lawn and ran it over. The third time it was gone for good. Never once did E go out looking for it on his own time, or show any remorse for what he had done. There was never an apology linked to him loosing that ring. Not even loosing it, but deliberately throwing it away, never to be found again, and not even a simple I’m sorry. My deceased grandfathers ring was thrown out like last weeks garbage, because of E’s temper.

The ring I spent so much time, effort and money on meant nothing to him. He used to insinuate that by taking off the ring we were done. To him, it was as simple as throwing it away and he would be done with me. I never once saw him out there looking for it. It didn’t matter to him. It was no big deal to him. I was no big deal to him. I could’ve easily been thrown away like that and he would’ve cared just as much.

The story of our marriage.


-Beyoncé/Single Ladies-