Sunday, April 23, 2017

Almost a Victim of Murder-Suicide, Soldier Sees How Far He's Come

Life shouldn't be like this. But all too often it is. When this Mom came home one day, her life changed. She took that pain and then tried to make life different for others suffering from domestic violence. When her child grew up, he joined the Army and now has a family of his own. 

The lesson here is that while you cannot control what some do to you, what you do for others in in your control and there is the miracle of life.
Mother of hanged baby speaks out to raise awareness of domestic abuse signs
Tulsa World
By Paighten Harkins
Apr 23, 2017
Hindsight • Mother of hanged toddler speaks out to raise awareness of domestic abuse signs
Early one morning, Vera Jane “Janie” Birdwell (then Huddleston) went home from her job at a diner on North Sheridan Road. It was just before 4:30 a.m. She’d left a half-hour early because she felt sick.

When she arrived at home that day, March 1, 1997, she couldn’t get inside. She soon learned why.

Her then-husband had locked himself in with their 22-month-old son. He’d been trying to hang himself and their child using electrical cords and shoestrings — all of which had snapped — before she arrived.

Although neither died, Birdwell said she’s been living with the trauma of that night — and the repercussions of the abuse leading to it — for the past two decades. Now in counseling and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Birdwell wanted to share her story as a cautionary tale for other victims of domestic abuse.

“I went home, opened the door, and there it was,” Birdwell said. “My life’s been a living hell ever since.”
Dakota said he considers himself successful. He graduated from high school and joined the Army. He lives in California with his wife, who he says is his rock. They had a baby girl in October.

He doesn’t remember the night he almost died, but he can’t ignore it. It won’t go away. He said he used to be embarrassed to talk about it but now uses it as a way to see how far he’s come.

“You can’t let stuff hold you down, because if you let stuff hold you down, it keeps you from growing,” he said.
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