It’s A Lot (1/10)

Macy M9 comments2109 views

The other day I was asked “Why don’t you just move!?” It is a valid question after the last year. I have been thinking a lot about this question. Topically, the answer is, I love where we live. I have called it my breath of fresh air. I have likened it to a daydream and I do feel SO lucky to be here. To enjoy the sunsets and the snow storms. When all the noise in the world feels overwhelming, this is the place I want to be. That has not always been the case over the last year though. Living here has felt like some sort of twisted survival gameshow where you’re tested to see just how much crap you’ll put up with before deciding your peace is more valuable. It’s often been the source of all our wildest nightmares.

I don’t even know how many trigger warnings I need to put on this and the following posts but I feel the need to warn you, this is going to be pretty heavy stuff. If you’re easily bothered by things such as suicide, rape, child abuse, animal neglect, sex trafficking, narcissist behavior, and maybe some other related topics, you should skip these posts. It’s not my regular happy-go-lucky sort of deal.

This has been the back side of our life here in Moscow, Idaho though. We all have stresses and struggles we don’t necessarily broadcast. I have struggled to tell this story because frankly, it’s not mine to tell. It’s mostly stuff that has been happening around me. We just got a special front row seat because of an access easement through our property. Even though the worst things didn’t happen TO me, they have all rippled out to be traumatic FOR me. That’s the thing about traumas, they ripple through time and space. I have absorbed bits and pieces of all of these situations. They have bounced off the previous ripples of my own traumas and stirred up a lot of emotionally murky waters for me.

In the end, I believe acknowledging trauma is a part of moving forward. I have this incredible knack for finding the good in everything. This situation though, has tested me in ways I’ve never expected. Frankly, it’s broke my spirit in ways I didn’t know it could break. I catch myself actively finding ways I can coat this in toxic positivity, but that’s not helpful to healing. The world just has lots of ugly layers that need to be acknowledged for what they are, ugliness.

Second warning, turn back now if you are in an emotionally sensitive place in your life.

Three weeks ago…

James left to go to Boise for his cousins wedding and to handle some things with the property he still owns there. He left early on a Wednesday morning. Normally the kids and I would have gone with him, but this time we said I couldn’t make it. We said it’s because we have these new chickens that are still just babies who need to be taken care of. Even though that’s true, that’s not the reason I didn’t go. The reason I didn’t go is the same reason we have installed security cameras all over our beautiful off-grid property. We have a sketchy neighbor situation here in rural Idaho (shocker, I know). It felt like the situation was amplifying and that someone needed to be here to keep an eye out.

At 8 pm, the same day James left, 11 emergency responders drove across our property to the place up hill, lights and sirens on. It started with the sheriffs, then the fire department came. Later, a couple of ambulances. I called the sheriff’s department to see if I could know what was going on. They wouldn’t tell me a thing despite my telling them I was a neighbor, alone with my children, and I needed to know if I need to be concerned for our safety. They refused to tell me yes or no to that question. I literally had no idea if there was an unstable gunman trying to evade police, a murder in progress or just a minor medical emergency. My bet was on one of the first two though…

After the months we’ve lived through, I knew anything was on the table. The only thing they would tell me was that “the sheriffs are on site” but I already knew that. For the next four plus hours I watched and waited. Locked in the tiny house with my kids close by. Even though it was well past their bedtime.

Eventually we fell asleep

In the morning I woke up to a message from a friend that said “I’m sorry to hear about your neighbor” (gotta love small towns, right!?). I responded, “what on earth DID happened?!”

It turns out that our neighbor took his own life that night. This friend has some mutual friends with my neighbor’s son, who filled her in on the details that eventually made their way to me. I had watched cars come and go, some marked, some not, until after midnight, without a clue as to what was happening.

Normally, I would agree, it’s is none of my business. These vehicles coming and going were a few short feet out our front door though. Additionally, over the last few months, we had a strained history with this individual, which included law enforcement several times. I felt there was reasonable cause for us to be a target of this person, if that was their headspace (which appeared increasingly erratic). I was well beyond stressed that night. Hoping for the best but trying to stay prepared for the worst. And no James around to help keep me rational.

That’s not even close to the first time I have been made to feel uneasy in my house over the last year. I assume that neighbor chose suicide because he had recently plead guilty to another charge of sexual assault of a minor under 16. Maybe it seemed more appealing than the prison sentence that was looming. Either way, three weeks ago marked the end of a contentious relationship with that particular individual. As sorry as I am that it ended that way, it has given me a lot of relief. Which in turn also provides me with a lot of guilt.

The situation has been escalating since the day we met, but especially so over the last 12 months. At a point however, we considered this man a friend and even maintained a professional relationship when we hired him to build our barn. He wasn’t pure evil. He was a complicated person tangled up in what I think is a ball of generational trauma that he chose to wind a little tighter and passed around to other people. And did he ever pass around the trauma. But he wasn’t doing that alone in this particular scenario.

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