Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Well. I never wanted my blog to morph into a serial courtroom drama, but it helps to sort my thoughts, record the details, and keep interested parties up to date. Yesterday was the sentencing hearing, and I gave a victim's statement. I am glad that I prepared my words, had notes to read from. I've never felt more nervous, nor more determined to be heard, and the combination of those energies is mind-blowing.

My 3 three sons and Geoff came with, and Paul and Janece met us at the courthouse. Never go to court alone, as a victim, or defendant. It's a confusing, stressful, sad, demoralizing place, and it can knock the wind out of you. Sometimes a hand would be on my back, or a voice would reach my ears, and otherwise I felt adrift in a dark vacuum... crowded and loud, intrusive, yet alienating. I am so thankful for my friends and family... the texts, and messages, the ones who checked in with me; you all helped make this something I could step into, and walk away from.

The defendant, the drunkladydriver, has messed up her life terribly, and together with her attorney, she messed things up further... her alcohol monitor gave a positive reading for alcohol, and they seriously pissed off the judge, (honestly, best description) by rattling off contradictory excuses/explanations, and he reminded her that if she cannot manage to follow the rules, and deal with her ankle monitor, then she will go directly to prison. It was intense and I am leaving out a lot. A LOT... but for friends in the area, for our community, I am happy to share, that she is on probation for a minimum of 2 years, that she has a self-reporting alcohol monitor, and she is not allowed to drink. I have held space for her, in my thoughts, in my heart, and I want her to rehabilitate, to recover, but I am completely over how hard she and her attorney have labored to deny responsibility, how they have tried to put the blame on me, the lies, the weaseling around with the law, how they have squandered the mercy the court has shown.

It's not over, yet. Another hearing is scheduled for late October, and that's when the issue of restitutions will be addressed. This is about the criminal case, and covering our out of pocket expenses, reimbursing our insurance. I have no doubt that there will be a fresh layer of bullshit flung in our direction for this, but I am not going to think about that today. That is... I am going to do my level best to clear my thoughts, and breath deeply, recover, rest, regain energy and peace of mind, enjoy that we have crossed another bridge.

Yesterday a concept occurred to me, an idea... very soon, I will close the door on this. I have been as good as I can be, and when it is over, I will be determined and mindful to walk away from all of it, and never think of her again.

Addiction is cruel and I have seen enough of its destructive powers to feel compassion and empathy for anyone suffering under the weight of an illness, of desperation. I have long believed that any stigma or shaming to do with addiction, or any mental health issues, does harm, is counterproductive. I support therapies and rehabilitation to help people cope with, manage, recover, heal, and live their best lives. And I am thankful for the measures that can be taken to protect society and defendants from their own weaknesses.

Monday, August 26, 2019

One More Day

Things are finally moving forward.

On July 15 the judge allowed the defense attorney to subpoena my phone records in the case of California vs drunkladydriver. I wrote about how her attorney was on the hunt for something to make me responsible for the collision... like distracted driving. And when we left the courthouse, they looked quite satisfied that they won some kind of victory, and even though I knew they could find nothing in my mobile phone record to put the blame on me, I felt violated, assaulted, again. And I had to wait 9 days for another hearing; for the judge to hear back from the defendant. 9 days checking myself, second guessing myself, debating whether or not to attend the next hearing, or to spare myself. 9 days in suspense, anxious. Being innocent, the victim, didn't free me from worry, or give me relief from concern. They'd made accusatory suggestions, implied things, and I couldn't be sure they wouldn't fabricate a story, a reason to delay or prolong or muddy things further.

I stuck with my physical therapy, which I really needed. I stuck with mindful breathing, and exercises in rational thinking, reasoning, logic. A person can do a lot to help themselves, to guard themselves against anxiety, panic, torment, and I have been diligent and mindful to do all the healthiest, most helpful things. And I've also learned that anxiety and panic are not particular; they show up, unannounced, uninvited, when they damn well please. It was not an easy week. It became increasingly stressful, so I became increasingly tired, muddled, sad, and pained. I redoubled my efforts, and defenses... in the garden, most of all. I think I tried to ward off dark thoughts with soil, mulch, wood chips, starter packs, native plants, bold flowers, lifting, digging, planting. I built a real place, of make believe hopes, and ideals. I indulged every leafy whim and floral daydream...

Can I say something stupid? That's a rhetorical question, and even as I ask it, I realize that 1. Of course I can say something; it's my blog. 2. I shouldn't say it's "stupid." It's not stupid... it's just true, and maybe hard to understand, hard to live with. Here it is... I hate how my thoughts invariably go back to the collision, to her, to hearings and subpoenas, to a sheriff at our door, to thinking about what to wear to hearings, to feeling old and unsightly, to nightmares, stuttering, the headache, to the need of physical therapy, counseling, to the sheer terror of riding in a car. I hate how badly I write or speak, because it's hard to do. I hate that even good things feel like part of the bad thing, because they are such a deliberate effort and ward against feeling sad, hurting. I hate how much gets tainted, and it feels "stupid" to live in this loop.

Geoff says, "You want to go for a ride?" He adjusts my seat, sets up the battery. He added the side mirror, got rid of the brake squeak. He does everything he can think to do, to clear the path (literal and figurative) so I will go outside, and pedal. It's nothing I ask for or expect, and I whispered, in the dark, "You love me," and it was revelation to me... I saw it plainly, sweetly, as I've never understood before: He loves me. He follows me, and we ride and ride, and I tell him, "Sometimes I forget to be scared, and I feel the cold air on my face and it wakes me up. I feel free and hopeful. It's so new, and good." It's good enough to make me go again, and again, even when it scares me, even when I remember why it's easier to stay home. I can ride 12 miles just going back and forth on our street, but Geoff lures me, a bit further out. Little by little, and sometimes, when I forget being scared, it's wonderful. He came back from a ride with this picture of a rat painted on a storm drain... like a bread crumb. I followed him there.

He painted my fenders purple. I would follow him anywhere.

I decided to skip the hearing. The defendant would either present "evidence" against me, or not and then the judge would decide what should happen next. The D.A. said she would call me. I kept my physical therapy appointment instead... where, laying on the table, I started crying, which was awkward.

On July 24th, in the afternoon, I answered a call from the district attorney, and she said, "She pleaded guilty." She said more than that, and it's not over, yet, but! But, the relief! The mild shock, and strange, disorienting relief. It was, should have been, inevitable, but it took so long, was so hindered and protracted, that even the truth felt doubtful. That night I slept, a distinction from almost every other night since December 6th.

And the next day, I faced all the days that have lead to this day... one more day until the sentencing hearing. Tomorrow I go back, and address the court; a statement, my story. I spent 6 hours writing the written report for the judge... that was awful. But, I need to figure out what I will say tomorrow, too. One more day. That is, one more day of the criminal case... then comes the civil case. Okay... one thing at a time. I am scared, and drained, nervous, a bit nauseous. I feel exhausted from my brain rehearsing everything, imagining what could happen, wondering what should happen. I feel apologetic (That is stupid! Please, please, please, don't let me utter the words "I'm sorry," because I am so inclined to feel responsible for discomfort, for taking anyone's time, for doing anything wrong. Help.)

One more day.

Tomorrow is Maria's first day back to school, and I might not be able to pick her up, and...

Crying. Sorry.

Damn it.