My younger sister was murdered; she had just started high school. The day before, I got a call from the nursing station: “Your sister is here. She’s pregnant. She wanted me to call you. She’s scared to go home.” I told her everything was going to be okay. I told her she had to tell the father. I thought this was the right thing to do.
Usually, she would call me multiple times a day. But the next day she never phoned. I went to see her boyfriend. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. I knew. I told police: “It’s over. Start searching.” They found her in a pile of snow. She’d been stabbed. The boy confessed one week later.
It was an awful time. All winter I couldn’t be in the snow. I couldn’t be alone. My husband started beating me as soon as we married. Twice I’ve tried to end my life. One time, I was medevac’d out. On a day pass from hospital I got a tattoo, honouring my eldest. The tattoo reminds me why I keep fighting, why I go on: My kids are everything to me.
I went home to a big ugly mess and eventually tried to end my life again. One-night last winter, my husband pinned me down by my throat. I looked up to see our daughter standing there. She was terrified. She froze and peed her pants.
That’s when I decided to leave. I had to leave my kids behind, for now: my husband wouldn’t let them go. I send money to cover everything to support them. Part of the reason I finally left was to honour my baby sister, because she never had the choice.