Broken

When Bobby and I separated, for some reason, I thought we would stay married.  What ever gave me that idea?  I loved him very much but we just could not live together.  We still saw each other often and got a long well.  But little did I know Bobby did not have the same idea.  Soon I discovered that Bobby had moved on.  And he soon moved in with Kelly, eventually becoming his second wife.

Broken!

How could I have predicted such an event?  I was shown, by my parents, that dysfunction was OK.  I truly believed (by the only example I had) that Bobby and I could live separate lives and still have a life together.

I realized this was not to be – I began to self destruct!

Not long after the self-destruction began, I was involved in a major use of force at work.  For those of you who never worked at TDC, that is when you are in an altercation with an inmate.  An inmate, in what we called super-seg, came after me.  He and I went to the floor.  He was handcuffed and had tried to kick me then tried to wrap the handcuffs around my neck.  It took 7 big men to pull me off of him.  I was holding on for dear life!

Broken!

I would love to give you details of all the events that took place next; however, I can not remember most of them.  My life became this weird sort of different realm.  Things were going on around me I could not comprehend.  I was doing things that seemed like it was another person.  I could see myself doing them but it did not feel like me.

Fortunately, I was actually afraid for my son to be with me so at some point I took him to my friend Tammy.  I have no memory of this but weeks later Tammy told me that I had brought him to her and left.

I was broken, I mean literally my mind broke into pieces.  All the years of abuse, a broken heart, the loss of my Mom, no family… everything seemed to be gone and I left too.  I checked out!  And attempted to do it permanently!

What I do remember….

I believe it was a Tuesday, the fall of 1992.  I left work and went home.  I got a call the next day from the woman who would babysit Jake.  I had never come to pick him up.  I was frantic!  I went and got him.  I remember us in the car.  Then I remember him not being in the car.  But somehow I knew he was safe.  I remember feeling a sense of relief that he was safe.  I remember buying razor blades.  I remember the pain.  The blood.  I remember how much it hurt and thinking about what a wimp I was and I just could not take the physical pain.  I must have passed out….

The next thing I remember I was in a hospital, where I had been for about a week (or at least that is what I was told).   I wanted to leave and go and find my son!  When I realized I could not leave I became frantic to find him.  A nurse took me to the phone and said for me to call a family member.  I tried to call Bobby over and over and over and over again!  Finally, I got a hold of Roy (Bobby’s Dad) and he said he would have Bobby call me.  Bobby came the next day with Jake.

I was hospitalized for about a month.

When the doctor finally said I could leave he would not let me leave unless I had someone I could stay with.  I called my Nanny and even my Dad.  Neither would take me and Jake.  My wonderful friend’s Tammy and James (yes, that is the same James) took me and Jake into their home.  No questions asked!  We lived there for about 6 months before I was able to get a place on my own and be released to go back to work.

This was the beginning of a very long journey!  Years of medications to just make it through the day.  I was not put back together again… I was still broken!  But the medicine acted like scotch tape and barely held me together.  Occasionally the tape would no longer hold so the doctors would find “better” or “different”or “more” tape to try and hold me together.   And it kind of did.  For awhile.

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5 Responses to “Broken”

  1. I love reading your blogs. Veronica you write fantastic and I appreciate you letting me take this journey of healing with you. Your blog would make a good book.

  2. I had only been working for the prison system for a couple of months when I first met Officer Veronica Hales. Even though I am a few months older, I presently consider Veronica to be like the older sister that I never had, but on the day that I met her, she was my first trainee. Now when I say trainee, I don’t mean to imply that she worked along side with me for weeks on end, until I felt her worthy to do her job alone and send her off with my blessing and a coal smear accross her forehead. Nope, I just happened to be working visitation on the same weekend that she had been scheduled for. Still, she was my first trainee, and since my grandfather taught me that if I am going to do a job, then I need to do it the best that I can everyday, I was going to make sure that I trained Officer Hales to the best of my ability. So I shared my wisdom, personal observations, and everything that I knew about being a correctional officer with Ms. Hales…..it took about five minutes. I do remember three thoughts that I had about her from that day. First she kinda looked like Demi Moore, second she was a very likeable person, and third that she had the potential to be a really good officer. To this day, I think I was right on at least two out of three…..Demi’s nose doesn’t match.
    If you have read the blog above, then you know about the inmate that pulled her into his cell, however this was not the only incident that she had with an inmate. I don’t think there was a day that went by that Veronica, like just about every woman that is brave enough to work in a men’s prison, wasn’t subjected to some kind of sick inmate perversion, wheter it was exposure or public masterbation. In the dayroom, their cells, in the main hallway, the recreation yard, the chow hall, or even in the gym at the weight machines. It’s hell being a correctional officer, but Veronica never let it show that any of it was bothering her, which is what officers do. We put on our game face when we enter the prison, and leave it behind when we leave. Of course sitting here typing this I now know that Veronica had been wearing a game face long before I met her.
    Then there was the day when Veronica’s status changed from “my first trainee” to “my hero.” She was working a medium custody cell block when she was sucker punched in the face by an inmate who was upset with her. From all accounts that I remember, it was a very brutal blow. Needless to say, there were some very angry officers the next day in our preshift meeting. All we knew at the time was that one of our own was going to be out for at least a couple of weeks, because they were attacked by an inmate, but something incredible was about to happen. Officer Veronica Hales walked into that turnout room ready to work the very same cell block that she had been attacked in the night before. Even as I write this, I still feel the same pride that I felt that day for my trainee, my little buddy, my hero.
    I write this not to put Veronica on a pedistal, but to let you, the reader, know that if you are feeling ashamed of yourself for being afraid, or that you feel ashamed for feeling weak and worthless, then DON’T!!! Firstly know this, you are not weak or worthless. That is a lie, so don’t believe it. Secondly, if you are feeling afraid, then know that you are not alone. I know going through this journey is probalbly one of the scariest things that Veronica has ever faced…….even more so than being a female correctional officer.

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