Angie and John witness a violent act that leaves them with a sense of loss

John woke up yesterday morning at 6 a.m. and decided the time was right to plant our tomatoes. Never mind that we had yet to buy the needed items to create our garden, he was ready.

So we get dressed and head out to Home Depot with a pit stop at Starbucks. John has a special fondness for hot chocolate and he always has it made extra hot, “upside down.” Because Starbucks doesn’t stir their drinks, he believes that this is the only way to get the syrup appropriately mixed. Well we walk in and I being a purist order bold coffee, black and started to add John’s order when the young woman behind the counter looks at him and said, “John, hot chocolate, upside down, extra hot.” We rarely frequent this location yet she remembered John and his drink from the time she worked at our regular stop. His smile was so big, he could have split his face.

It was a sweet moment. The last one we would have that morning.

As we parked in front of the hardware store, I saw two people””a woman and a man””running like mad diagonally across the lot. My first thought was that they were about to miss their bus and really, really, needed to catch it.

Just then to my amazement, the man tackled the woman and down they went. I took a step towards them, hesitated for a second and pulled out my phone to dial 911. John was behind me, we didn’t move any closer but after giving my name and location, I described for the emergency operator their age, clothing, build, if I thought there was a weapon, and what he was doing to her.

My heart sank as I saw him trying to make her come with him, something she obviously didn’t want to do. They were hidden from the busy street by a small building. Although I was assured that a police car was on the way, the minutes seemed to drag as I saw the young woman become dead weight in order to make her attacker unable to just drag her away.

Day workers hearing the commotion came around the building, looked and decided not to get in the middle of a domestic dispute. I stepped closer, realizing that he had grabbed her purse and her hair and was taking both towards the street.

I looked behind me to see John standing near our car, he clearly didn’t understand what was happening. I told John that we couldn’t just stand there and started running towards the couple. Stopping 20 feet from them, I yelled at the young woman that she didn’t have to go with him, that we would help her. By then they were crossing the street and I knew she was going with him.

I called 911 back and told them she was gone.

Stunned I turned and walked back towards John. We entered the store acting as if nothing had happened. As we moved down the isle, I started to ask John something and mid-sentence started to weep. He awkwardly put an arm around me and let me sob. An employee came up to us and asked if everything was okay. His prompt made me realize I was causing a scene.

But I couldn’t stop. I was crying about the girl: was she going to be okay? About the police taking so long: what is it going to be like if we continue to cut services? About illegal immigration: did their fear of getting involved stem from fear of being discovered?

I was crying because I had to stand alone. My husband couldn’t comprehend that someone was in trouble. My champion was gone.

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2 Responses

  1. Rhonda Glisson says:

    I have to say that I understand what Angie felt with standing alone. My mother that is 88 and has had dementia for over 4 years often times does nothing when I am crying. She no longer holds me or pats my hand and tells me it will be okay. She does nothing often times looking away or talking about something that tells me she isn’t with me. Breaks my heart! Pain I plan never to put my daughter through.

  2. Rose McKinnon says:

    Dear Rhonda and Angie, One of the difficult features of dementia is that the person no longer is able to express empathy for others. To lose the comfort and support of your mother or the strength of support from your husband is a great tragedy for you. It might help for you to join a local support group for family caregivers and discuss this issue with others who are experiencing the same difficulty. Many caregivers have learned much about how to understand the behaviors of dementia and how to approach the person with dementia to minimize their difficult behaviors. Discussing your immense lose with a counselor who understand dementia may also be helpful. Most caregivers find the loss of companionship and friendship with the person with dementia is intensely painful. Get help for yourself. Let us know how you are doing.

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