My husband was shot in a road rage incident a year ago. He had just picked our kids up from school. All four of them were in the car. It was a brazen attack by two men heavily armed; brothers. The driver was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon. He was released from jail six months later. The shooter is still in jail. He faces two felony charges; armed criminal action and assault in the first degree. I have never been able to wrap my head around the fact that neither were charged with endangering the welfare of four minors, it’s unfuckingbelieveable, but I digress.
That day changed everything. My husband has scars from where a bullet entered and exited his body, and where one bounced off of his chest. His car has a new window and door to replace those pieces riddled with bullets. Those are the physical, it’s the emotional that I can’t get past.
My husband, kids, they’re good. No, really, they’re fine. They don’t talk about it. If I bring it up they just blow it off like it was a normal day. My husband believes that God has better things planned for him to do in his lifetime and He wasn’t ready for him. I wholeheartedly agree that his guardian angel shielded him that day, but I’m not over it. I’m not over it at all. I don’t know that I ever will be.
I live in fear all the time. These criminals live right up the street from where our kids used to attend school. It’s in our zip code. We’re talking a couple of miles away. And one of them is out of jail. Anytime I see a car like theirs, I get a pang in my stomach. When I drive down the street where the shooting took place, I often say a Hail Mary to ease my mind as I think about images of my kids on the local news standing next to police officers.
I am always fearful when I am with my four-year-old daughter by ourselves. I constantly look over my shoulder and have unfairly cast aspersions on strangers whose appearance frightens me. That is wrong! But it’s real for me. I know what this guy looks like from a mugshot. Would I be able to recognize him if we were face to face? I don’t know. We have a restraining order, but we all know that’s just a piece of paper. Has he looked up our address? Has he driven past our house? Is he planning to hurt us? It keeps me up at night.
I have also become obsessed with my husband dying. It consumes me. If I don’t hear him snoring at night, I lightly push him to get him breathing loudly. I’m always monitoring his health. Is he eating well? Does he take his vitamins? Yearly bloodwork, don’t even think of blowing that off. I’m 41 and constantly think about becoming a widow.
And why? Why is my life like this? Because some assholes were carrying weapons that they shouldn’t have been. Period. A Glock with a 50 round drum magazine on a Monday afternoon drive? Are you fucking kidding me? No. That’s not OK. But here we are. Where are the background checks and mental health evaluations? We’ve got to make it harder for these people to get weapons in their hands.
This is real. And it’s happening every day in our country. These weapons need to be off the streets, that’s a fact. No one needs a gun powerful enough to blow a hole through someone’s chest. If not for yourself, let’s lobby for stricter laws to save our kids. My four babies were in the car! I could have lost my entire family.
I’m not trying to take your guns. If you are a law-abiding citizen who can respectfully handle a firearm, good for you. But if you are out there armed to the teeth to shoot at some guy and his kids because he let somebody out of the drive-thru at McDonald’s, that’s a big fat hell no. This is out of control. We need to enforce our laws and make them stricter. We need to protect the innocent. You may think, “it’s no big deal.” Or, “It doesn’t affect me.” Well, it didn’t affect me either until a police officer left a message on my voicemail saying, “Your husband’s been shot, but your children are ok.” I hope you never have to swallow that one. You’ll need a big bottle of water to get it down.
I thank God every day for saving our family from unfathomable tragedy. I am grateful to have had my loving husband for another year and that my children have their dad. I think about those brothers every day. How do they feel? Are they sorry? Do they even care? Are they planning revenge? It’s all-consuming. I hope that they are changed in a positive way. That God will touch their lives somehow and will bring some good to their hearts. Some kind of compassion. A bit of regret. I want it all. So today, I hold my loved ones tighter, longer, and with a greater sense of thanks than I did the hours, minutes, and seconds before our little safe bubble was burst. Today, I thank God.