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December 18, 2012

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Social Stigma

Walking by a brick wall, Toronto 2012-06-21

During my recent trip to Chile, I had the pleasure of listening to an 80-year-old share her story with me while travelling for three hours in a bus.

I was captivated by her recounting how she had been married to a man who would beat her when he had a bit too much to drink, but who was otherwise a wonderful husband. She quickly followed this statement by saying that the violent outbreaks didn’t last for very long. “He would look, look, and look for me, but after a while, when he could not find me, he would fall asleep.”

She winked at me as she leaned in and whispered that she would hide inside one of many wine barrels they had in their backyard. She had managed to conceal a pillow, a blanket and some food for those difficult times. “I never told anyone,” she said: “I didn’t want my neighbors to know. Back then, you would keep it to yourself.”

On his deathbed, holding his hand, she said “I forgive you; I forgive you.”

He looked at her and said nothing.

Lady and dog by the lake, Toronto 2012-05-30

Lady and dog by the lake, Toronto 2012-05-30

Walking by a brick wall, Toronto 2012-06-21

Walking by a brick wall, Toronto 2012-06-21

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2 Comments
  1. Dec 20 2012

    What a sad story. Thank you for sharing. I often forget how good my life is, and things like this bring me back to reality. I’m sure she was grateful that you were there to listen to her.

  2. Dec 21 2012

    Oh my gosh! That is not only heart wrenching, but it is also infuriating! What a terrible life at the hand of an alcoholic!!!!! The poor woman!

    That was kind of you to listen to her story and I’m sure she found comfort with you.

    You know, I am always so sad when women stay with their abusers. They settle and never really experience the full life that they could otherwise enjoy.

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