I met my future husband at church. He was a nice Christian man, and we soon got married. It was my second marriage, and before long I learned there were two completely different sides to him. On one side, he was a very loving man. But behind closed doors, there was a cruel side to him. He was abusive, both verbally and emotionally. He constantly accused me of infidelity, and if I even mentioned another man’s name, he assumed I was cheating on him (which I never did). He wouldn’t let me have a relationship with my children; I wasn’t even allowed to talk to them on the phone. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster, sometimes it was good, and then all the craziness would begin again. It was too much for me to bear. In September 2009 I moved out and filed for divorce. All that was left was for him to sign the divorce papers.
In November 2009, he called inviting me to play golf saying he would sign the papers. He said, “Bring your golf clubs, you’ll be really happy to see me.” When we met, it was really strange how giddy he was that entire day. After we finished playing golf, we went to his house to sign the papers. When we got there, he talked me into having sex with him. I did what he wanted to avoid a verbal tirade. Afterwards, as I was getting dressed, he suddenly locked the bedroom door, pulled out a shotgun, and chambered it. My heart froze as he told me to sit down. He said he was going to kill me and then himself. He said, “If I can’t have you, then no one can.” I tried to talk him out of it, but he got even angrier. I could tell he was serious and I started thinking about my children and grandson. It was then and there that I decided to jump up and around him. As I leaped to my feet he shot me in the abdomen with a double barrel shotgun loaded with buckshot. I fell to the floor, and as I lay there, he pointed the gun at me, telling me it was my fault and that I was going to die. I finally said, “If you’re not going to call 911, you might as well shoot me.” When I said those words his face softened, and his eyes were no longer cold and empty. He cried out, “Oh my God, what have I done?” He immediately called 911, and told them what he did. They arrived shortly after and life-flighted me to the hospital. I had no pulse, no blood left and the doctors told my kids I had a less than 1% chance of living. I was in a coma for three weeks. They didn’t expect me to make it, and said even if I lived I would have no quality of life. After three months in the hospital and 13 surgeries, I was walking and back at work seven months later. I lost 80% of my digestive system, my stomach muscles, and even lost my bellybutton, yet I was a walking miracle. The doctors told me that according to medical books I should have been dead.
I began to physically recover, but not mentally and I knew I needed help. One night I called the National Domestic Violence Hotline and they referred me to the Houston Area Women’s Center. The next day I went there, did intake, met with a counselor and began to go to group counseling sessions. It was truly an amazing experience; it helped me realize I wasn’t alone and that there were other women going through the same things. My recovery took a big turnaround. I needed that group support. In December 2010, I went to trial, testified against my husband and he was sentenced to life in prison. Once I left that courtroom I felt like a new woman. I continued going to the Houston Area Women’s Center, but I had made the transition from victim to survivor.
To this day, I still have 14 buckshot pellets lodged in my body, and they remind me that I survived for a reason. I survived to be a mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and to be of help to someone. I know that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ll be graduating from college this Spring, and I’m currently writing a book about my experience. It has been an amazing journey, and if I had to take a bullet again, I would take it to gain the peace I have now, freely be with my children and family, and most of all to not be controlled by another again.