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I Forgive…

Crying in the garden…her face all swollen and bruised
Etta was thinking, “It was my own fault that he hit me,
I shouldn’t have told him I would leave him…
I knew he’d been drinking…I should have let it be.”

Still shaken…Etta went into the bedroom to apologize…
Hoping to bring peace to their family again,
Her son and daughter were crying…begging her not to go…
She doesn’t remember what happened next…why or when.

Her eyes opened slowly…vision blurred…
Groggily Etta was realizing that she was in a strange bed,
A policeman was standing over her in the hospital room
It took her a minute to understand what he had said.

“Mam, can you tell me your name and what happened?”
I was quiet for a bit…then told him my name,
“Oh y..y..yes, officer…I think I fell down the stairs.”
“Mam, your children say that your husband is to blame.”

“Do you want to file charges against him?
We can find you and your children a safe place to stay.”
Her eyes were filled with fear…but she forced a smile saying,
“Thank you, no…he’s never been this way.”

When she arrived home the dinner table was set for only two
With flowers, candles and all her favorite food,
Ted was smiling and apologetic as he went to hug her
“I’m so sorry Etta, but you knew I was in a foul mood.”

Now, let’s just sit and eat this romantic dinner I’ve made
The children have already been fed so I can be alone with you,
He opened a bottle of wine and began pouring it into her glass
“Ted, you promised me in the hospital that you were through.”

“Oh Etta, we’re celebrating your return home
What’s a little wine with dinner going to hurt?”
That’s when she made up her mind to run with the children…
Leaving her soon to be drunken husband groveling in the dirt.

The drunker he got the louder he got…
Trying to pick a fight as the children came crying to the door,
Afraid because their dad was drunk and angry again
And worried that he would beat up their mom once more.

Etta grabbed each of her children by the hand
As they ran and piled into her car in fear,
She thought them free…not seeing his gun aimed at her head
Then the car began to veer.

She had been thanking God as she drove away…
Asking Him to forgive her husband for all he’d done,
And as her head fell forward onto the steering wheel…
She had one last thought, “I forgive…”
And then…there were none.

By Terri Swingle

**Author’s note:
I realize that almost all of my poetry is hopeful and/or has a happy ending. Life doesn’t always turn out that way, but we can learn from it. My inspiration for this poem comes from my gratefulness to God for allowing me to survive the physical, mental and emotional abuse I received from my ex-husband. There are so many of us out there being subjected to spousal abuse. Male and female alike. Many die because they are afraid to say ENOUGH! and ask for help. I only hope that everyone who reads this poem will understand it’s message that abuse is NOT okay. You are LOVABLE in GOD’S eyes and abuse would NEVER be in HIS plan for you. So it’s time to say ENOUGH! I encourage anyone who is being abused to SPEAK UP AND REACH OUT! YOU WILL BE HEARD!!

By Terri Swingle

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