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Ask The Band: Coping With Domestic Abuse

ask band domestic abuse

Dear The Band,

My husband and I got into a very heated fight (to say the least). We were in each other’s face and things got physical and turned into domestic abuse.

Alcohol was involved.

I ended up going to the ER and was diagnosed with a head injury and a bruised rib. The police came to the hospital to ask me what happened – if I’d been the victim of domestic abuse – and I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want both of us to to to jail.

I was charged with a domestic abuse charge. He would have been too, if I’d said anything.

Anyway, there’s a no contact order between him and I, but he has my children: my 2 1/2 son and my 9 year old daughter. I am only allowed to communicate through my attorney or at the family resource center.

Right now? He won’t answer the phone to either number.

It has been nine excruciating days since I’ve seen my children.

I learned that he’d filed a restraining order on me. He then shut my phone off and took all the money I had out of my bank account.

I’m staying with family now.

I want to see my children but he will not let me see them and I’m devastated.

We have a hearing for the restraining order on the 11th. I don’t know what to do to prepare for it. I have the hospital records of my injuries. I don’t want him in trouble because he is my husband and I still love him very much – we both need help and things got out of hand.

Without my kids, it’s hard to get up in the morning.

Has anyone else been in this situation? 

domestic abuse

 *UPDATE* I finally got in touch with my attorney and let him know all the details. He told me to bring the hospital records to the hearing. As much as I wish this never had happened, I’m not going to be a doormat and let him scare me.

Remembering The Band’s Babies: The Ache

When a baby dies, we are fragmented. Shattered, we must pick up the pieces and put them back together as we pay tribute to our children, our tables forever missing one, our families incomplete, our treasures in heaven, our babies alive only in our hearts.

It is through our stories that they live forever. These children were here and they mattered. They were loved.

They are loved.

My therapist told me that I hide behind walls of humor.

And I do.

I laugh so I don’t cry. And I have been doing a LOT of laughing lately.

But I have been doing as much crying, just behind closed doors. I have been going through all the stages of grief and grieving in like a minute every single day. It’s wearing me down.

I miss the baby I lost so much that I ache.

I thought Christmas – her due date – and what would have been her first birthday would have been harder.

remembering the bands babies

I’m okay in public and with those who she’s disappeared to. I can pretend everything is okay; that I am fine.

I’m not fine.

But today. This date which means nothing to me is harder than her day. Tuesdays and the 28th of every month are torture because she was taken Tuesday, July 28th. But today?

Why am I aching for her today, a day that means nothing? Why do I miss her so much that I can barely breathe?

She would be a year old.

What would she look like?

Would she look anything like her sisters?

Would she look like her daddy or me?

Would she be walking?

Would she be talking?

Would she cuddle me when I needed her?

It’s such a punch in the gut, living without her. Having these thoughts. And seeing her and her “birth” (which wasn’t a birth to anyone but those who really loved her) every time I close my eyes.

My therapist wants to talk about it; deal with it.

If I talk about her and heal, will what few memories I have fade?

I don’t know that I can relive that night out loud. I see it over and over in my head. I wrote about it here. But I can’t say out loud. I can talk to my husband and mother because they were there, they know. But even my husband doesn’t grieve with me. He has almost moved on. I don’t think I ever will. I held her in my hands. And always in my heart.

Everyone grieves differently and he just wants me to be better.

How do I get better?

Why on a day when I should be semi-okay does the grief come out of nowhere and take me to my knees? The pain. The anguish. I feel like I am drowning.

All I want is to hold my little girl in my arms. To rock her and smell her sweet smell. I never got to smell her sweet smell. It’s not fair.

I want to punch walls and throw things and scream at the top of my voice, “it’s not fucking fair!”

This aching, this longing for something that can never be. That is the hardest. I miss my daughter. I can’t breathe without her today.

Maybe tomorrow will be better but today it’s not going to be okay.

Today, I want to fall apart.

Today, I feel like I am dying.

You are invited to add your child’s name to our wall of remembrance.

Remembering The Band’s Babies: Bella

When a baby dies, we are fragmented. Shattered, we must pick up the pieces and put them back together as we pay tribute to our children, our tables forever missing one, our families incomplete, our treasures in heaven, our babies alive only in our hearts.

It is through our stories that they live forever. These children were here and they mattered. They were loved.

They are loved.

I saw your pajamas last night.

No, they weren’t the exact ones, of course. I returned yours to the store, along with your bassinet and baby blankets.

These were the same though, your pattern. The ones I picked out to match your nursery. Bright teal, with lime green, hot pink, and bright purple flowers. And panda bears. Lots of pandas.

I showed them to Ian, tried to brush off the longing for you, and made some lighthearted comment. He could tell it upset me, though.

It’s been three years today, October 12. One would think it wouldn’t hurt anymore. Or that I would have tried to heal by having another baby by now. They’re wrong.

It does still hurt. In the lonely nights, when I feel the ghost of your movements, deep in my belly. In the unguarded moments when I let myself watch the baby shows on TLC. When I pass by someone pregnant, and I find myself passing a hand over my empty tummy.

I would have loved to have another baby by now, but it felt a betrayal of you. How could I insist that I missed you when I was holding a new child? Who would believe that there was a hole in my heart bearing your name when they heard my happiness over this new baby?

Is it wrong of me then, that I do crave to hold another baby in my arms?

I’ve given myself time, and I continue to mourn you. But I still have so much love to give. And Ian wants a baby. I want to give him this gift, to share this part of our future together. A part of me still feels I’m forsaking you to do so.

baby loss

So tell me, my sweet Bella, what am I to do?

How long am I to go on missing the sound of your heartbeat, the feel of your somersaults?

How long before it’s “acceptable” for me to want another child?

How long before I can say your name and not feel the tears in the back of my throat?

And when all these things pass?

How am I to go on living with myself?

You are invited to add your child’s name to our wall of remembrance. 

Dose of Happy: Even The Mistakes Are Good

With all the upheaval and negativity running rampant through our lives, it’s important to be able to stop, take stock of what’s important, and find some joy wherever we can.

At The Band Back Together Project, we like to take the time specifically to arrange a little happy boost for everyone.

You’re always welcome to share your story with us!

dose of happy

My daughter has always loved to cook and create in the kitchen. When she was four, we were able to have cable television for a time, and the Food Network.

She was in heaven.

Other children turn on cartoons on Saturday mornings. My daughter would rather watch Paula Dean or the Barefoot Contessa.

She had – and still has – such a passion for cooking. She would get so excited every time she made something. It was always excellent! And amazing! Delicious!

Even when things didn’t turn out quite right, she always found a way to declare them good.

The bottom of the cookie might be burnt, but the top of the cookie? That was delicious!

dose of happy

Our scalloped potatoes and ham might be a touch closer to soup than a casserole, but didn’t it taste amazing?

She’d declare our efforts good, and then turn to me and say something like,

“We made this good. But next time, we should make it different, so it’s more good!”

Grammar aside, my daughter knew something at four years old that I still forget:

Even our mistakes can be good.

Our mistakes are how we learn. We muddle through our situations as best we can, and then we look back and see where we can do better next time we’re faced with something hard.

Even our mistakes can be good, if we learn from them.

Remembering The Band’s Babies: Sarah

This year on The Band Back Together Project, we are curating and adding the names of your children who are no longer with us and we will be posting our Wall of Remembrance on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. 

We welcome you – any of you – to share the names of those you are missing.

Please click this link to add the name of your child (or a child you love) to our wall so we can remember them.

I never expected to be a mother at 17. I also never expected to be joining the baby loss club at 17 either. Walking out of that hospital in Tucson on that late August day, I knew that my life had fundamentally changed.

Instead of a baby in my arms, I carried a potted plant and a heavy heart out of the doors of University Hospital.

Sarah Beth Sluszka was born on August 22, 1991.

She died August 24, 1991.

I don’t know what caused her death. I refused an autopsy; I didn’t want my baby being cut up like a science project.

Knowing what I know now, I believe her death was related to a lack of oxygen due to a cord accident.

Sarah never cried, opened her eyes, or moved on her own.

Making the decision to take your child off of life support is heartbreaking.

Making that decision at 17 changes the trajectory of your life. I had no life experience to draw from. My parents only advised, but did not make this decision for me. I alone chose and therefore changed my life forever.

While I miss wanting to know who Sarah could have been over these past 28 years, I am happy with the person and parent I am today.

I went on to have four sons, a (step) daughter, and one granddaughter (so far!) and they have truly been the lights in my life.

In them, I see who Sarah could have been, what she would have been like. Like her siblings, she would have been an amazing human.

August 22 is Be an Angel Day.

Every year, I ask my friends to do one random act of kindness in Sarah’s name on that day.

It helps me to know that people are thinking about her and doing good in her name in the world. I’ll ask you all to do that next year through.

The Band, just put your children’s names onto our wall.

Together we can spread kindness and remember our children with happy hearts.

 band back together wall of baby loss