It isn’t like me to write an article like this since I’m rather a private person. But, if this article just helps one woman it is worth the writing.
Yesterday they discovered the young woman from the United States who went to Istanbul on a photography shoot. She was married with two young sons. She went by herself to Istanbul, kept in touch with her family daily but when she didn’t return on the plane she was scheduled to return on, her husband became alarmed and reported her missing. After a little more than a week later they found her body in Istanbul, stabbed multiple times. One of the facts they uncovered before finding her body was, she agreed to meet somebody in Amsterdam – a Facebook friend that she had never personally met who was also interested in photography. This was a side trip she did not mention to her family. The Turkish officials have several suspects and investigation is still ongoing…
Do any of you remember a few years ago a young woman flew to Arruba with a man she met on Facebook – but never in person? The last time she was seen was in one of the bars in Arruba with the man she knew nothing about. And that’s the last time she was ever seen. Both these women were in their thirties.
Every time I hear on the news or read in the newspaper about some young woman who has been killed or is missing after getting involved with a man she either had never met in person, or who she just barely knew, I become very distressed. Because, there but for the Grace of God go I. And I thank God that I was spared this ending.
This is my story of a young woman who jumped into life wholeheartedly without thought for personal safety or circumspection. And if I can help just one woman to avoid making the same mistakes I made it will have made it worth writing.
After my seventeen year marriage I left my husband and went to live with my ex-sister-in-law in another state. I had married right out of high school to my “steady” boyfriend. In some ways it was a good marriage and some ways a very bad marriage; he was extremely dictatorial to the point of becoming threatening if I dared to express my views. During the last three years of our marriage I tried to change the dynamics in our relationship. Up to this point I had been very subservient in order to keep the peace but I wanted to have an equal partnership. When I tried to discuss this with him he’d give his stock answer: “If you don’t like it you know where the door is, and don’t let it hit you in the ass”. So I left and he divorced me one month later since I wasn’t “ready” to come home. I should mention that I was in complete self-denial regarding my marriage – that’s why it lasted seventeen years. But now, I just knew I had to get away to find out: “what’s the matter with me?”
Having married right out of high school I never did experience being on my own so here I was, a 36-year-old woman doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it without anyone telling me I could or could not. I’d say I was pretty Pollyanna-ish when it came to trusting other people – always seeing the good in everyone. And if I met someone that seemed to have a problem, well, maybe I could help them find the way. Naïve!! It took four years for things to come to a head. By this I mean I was meeting one bad dude after another; but each one had a little more severe “problem” than the last one.
Now, I’ve left Someone out of this story who played a huge part in my staying alive – God. God was always in my life to some degree ever since I was a little girl, even though no one in my family went to church. At ten years of age I would walk about a mile or so to attend church and Sunday school by myself. My church attendance never stayed consistent though, until I was about thirty-three, then I had a spiritual experience that changed me. Before this experience I was ashamed that God wouldn’t accept me because I was a “sinner” and wasn’t doing what He wanted me to do with my life (whatever that was), not to mention my fears of “hell and damnation”, so I turned away from God (sort of like Eve, hiding).
I started having terrible allergy problems in my early thirties and was searching every way possible to stop the headaches and the daily sneezing attacks I was having. Of course, I tried my family doctor first, took every antihistamine on the market – to no avail. Then I started reading books on alternative medicine and even found one by a medical clairvoyant, the late Edgar Cayce. Most of them prescribed a holistic approach to good health, eating a wholesome diet mostly of fruits and vegetables and some meat. So I started eating a lot of raw carrots, celery and nuts. My health started to improve markedly. And I gradually became a vegetarian over the next three years. As my health was improving I came across more books by Edgar Cayce . One of them, “A Search For God”, had a chapter on meditation. I had never meditated before but had read that it helped to improve one’s health and well being and becoming more centered; it would also help one to fulfill goals and potential. Cayce highly recommended using an affirmation to enter meditation as a way to focus one’s thoughts and to be surrounded by spiritual protection. The one I liked using was “ Not my will but Thine, O Lord, be done in me and through me. Let me ever be a channel of blessings, today, now, to those that I contact in every way. Let my going in, my coming out be in accord with that Thou would have me do, and as the call comes, “Here am I, send me, use me.”
For the next three years I meditated once or twice a day faithfully. One day, maybe after I had been meditating a few months or so, I had what some might call a “religious experience”, or “taken over by the Holy Spirit”, or “baptism by fire”. Whatever the correct definition of what I experienced, it changed my life. When I walked out of my meditation room I knew without a doubt that whatever God wanted me to do I would know it. – and it was at that point I knew God was there, was always there, and would be no matter what I did in life, whether I made good decisions or bad decisions; He would be there. I knew God accepted me just the way I was – he just Accepted me!
For the next three weeks, on Saturday, I would randomly read a passage from the Bible and meditate on it. The next day in church, lo and behold, the scripture I had randomly picked the night before was the same scripture they read in church! To me, this was a powerful confirmation that God’s hand was upon me.
As I was on this path of self-improvement, my physical health improved as well as my self image. I started taking courses at the community college, working on a two-year Arts degree. It was during this period in my life when I decided to leave my marriage.
After my divorce, I started dating, continually making poor choices in my selection of boyfriends, each one having a worse problem than the one before. Finally, I met a man who also believed in God and was a churchgoer. And that is exactly what I wanted! He was a charismatic man about six years or so older than I, had been raised in an orphanage and subsequently lived in New York. He even introduced me to his pastor who assured me that Tumo no longer took drugs. (Warning bells). To make a long story short, this man was snowing me – he still had a drug problem – heroin, and needed money to supply his habit. We had a volatile relationship for about four months when one day he exploded and tried to choke me. I was able to get away – and that should have ended the relationship, right? Wrong, I was hopelessly in love, sure that I could help him with his problem and stayed with him.
But it wasn’t too long after that, that several friends and relatives told me they thought I was in danger. Even Tumo told me that “the Lord had told him I was in danger”. I wondered who in the world was I in danger from? None of my friends or relatives said they thought I was in danger from Tumo. When I asked Tumo who did he think I was in danger from he said maybe someone who used to supply him with drugs – someone he may have owed money to. Finally, I decided to ask God, was I in danger? The answer came back in my mind, “yes, but the danger will be averted”.
It wasn’t long after that, maybe a week or so, when we were having a nice day. Tumo had washed my car and we were going to go upstairs to his apartment and I was going to cook dinner. He had had a few beers and I noticed a change come over him. I had noticed several times before that when his personality started to change he would start smacking his lips and then he would be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – frightening! Later that night after dinner I was trying to soothe Tumo but he was becoming more and more agitated until I finally told him I was going to go home that his behavior was getting to be a little much – and he exploded into a rage. He came at me in such a menacing manner that, as I backed up a scream welled up out of me, and he gave me a karate-chop right across the bridge of my nose, and I went down. When I was able to stand he warned me not to scream again or he would hit me again. I did my best not to, but when he started ranting and screaming at me and moving closer and closer, I screamed again. This time he dealt a blow to the top of my head and it was like a giant explosion of white light went off in my head and at the same time it sounded like my head was in a giant church bell as it gonged. Within seconds of falling to the floor I sent out an enormous silent plea for help: “Jesus help”! And at that same instant I saw a huge image of Jesus – and I mean HUGE. When I finally got up and sat on the edge of the bed, Tumo seemed to have calmed down somewhat. Minutes went by and then the phone rang. Tumo answered it and it was my mother calling from her home about two thousand miles away. She expressed concern for me – was I alright? He told her I was fine and hung up on her. Then Susan, my housemate, called expressing the same concern – especially since my worried mother had called my place first and gotten Tumo’s number from my housemate. Tumo repeated the same thing to her: I was fine. Then a friend of Tumo’s called. I had met her on one occasion and we’d instantly hit it off. She, too, was worried about me: Was I there? Was I okay? Once again, like with the others, he assured her I was fine. By now, he had calmed down somewhat – not completely but he wasn’t threatening me anymore. My mother called twice more. The second time he cursed horrible profanities at her and told her not to call again. But she did. And demanded to talk to me. Tumo gave me the phone and warned me not to say anything to her. Mother asked me if I was okay; she was terribly worried about me and if I didn’t let her know I was okay she was going to call the police. So I said, “Sure Mom, why don’t you do that. Go ahead, do that” hoping she would call the police. But I didn’t dare let on what was happening. And then I hung up.
Maybe ten-fifteen more minutes went by when I decided I’d try to jump out of the open window in the bathroom. We were on the second floor but I figured it would be worth the risk to get away from him. I told him I had to use the toilet and went in, sat down, looked over at the window and was planning how I would make my move. When I finished washing my hands, I turned around getting ready to make a move, when Tumo lunged at me, shouting “I know what you’re doing”! I lost my balance as I backed into the tub and found myself wrapped in the shower curtain. He swung as hard as he could but missed me, hitting the wood molding around the tub enclosure. He split the molding in two and his hand swelled up tremendously. Thank God I got tangled in the shower curtain! Things calmed down after that and we went to sleep. Indeed, “the danger had been averted”.
The next morning I was trying to figure how in the world I was going to escape from him. Tumo had a painting job to do and told me to drive him there. I was to help him and not leave his side. By noon time he was starting to relax and had lost most of his anger and paranoia. I asked him if he would like me to go buy some sandwiches and drinks. He said okay, but warned me I had better come right back! I assured him I would.
When I left, I drove straight to my bank on the other side of town, took out my savings and hightailed it out of town, heading north to my mother’s home.
Did I finally listen to myself? No. I still felt sorry for this man and wanted him to know I forgave him but it was best that we ended things. This was another terrible mistake, another instance of not listening to my common sense. He would not hear of ending our affair but insisted he was going to come up and be with me. Knowing I couldn’t stop him, rather than have a scene at mother’s house, I decided to leave and head to her friend Corrine’s house which was several hundred miles away. Rather than stay with her, we stayed at the KOA Campground a few miles from her house.
After about a month, as the full moon was nearing, Tumo became more and more erratic, restless, muttering under his breath, pacing. He really scared me and I stayed in prayer. At this time the park manager asked me to come to the office, there was a call for me. It was my mother insisting that I leave him; she had noticed there was a full moon when he assaulted me the month before and was afraid of what might happen if I didn’t leave. But I had no place to go and, besides, it was my camper pickup we were living in. Tumo also was fearful of losing it and he was doing a lot of praying himself. We were up most of the night, and thankfully, made it without any violence.
While we were staying at the campground Hurricane David passed over the park, leaving havoc everywhere. The campground closed and we went to Corrine‘s and stayed at her house. She did not know any of what had gone on between Tumo and myself so I was very nervous that he might flip out and cause problems. Sure enough, a few day’s later, Tumo came home from work (he had gotten a job at a nursing home, which is just the place to have access to drugs). I could tell that he must be using some substance, as his demeanor had changed and he was starting to smack his lips. I told Corrine that my allergies were acting up in the room I was sleeping in (Tumo insisted on sleeping in the RV) and I was going to try sleeping in the RV to see if my allergies cleared in the fresh air. Tumo was in the throes of his demons; he started accusing me of deceiving him, warned me not to leave him or he would kill me. He’d “have his men find me – I’d be easy to find in my blue-topped camper”. After another frightful night I decided I had to make a move – and fast! Immediately after he left for work I went inside and told Corrine what had been going on and told her I wanted her to go with me to Mother’s. She agreed, we hastily packed, and left.
Rather than make up what happened next (as my memory does not recall events exactly) I will just say that after arriving at Mother’s we found out that Tumo was rushed to the hospital with chest pains. His heart was okay and I believe that being quite psychic he “knew” I was leaving. Mother insisted that I get as far away as possible from Tumo and this volatile situation. She offered to go with me to stay at my brother’s in Las Vegas. Corrine said she would go visit some friend’s living nearby after we left. Mom and I drove to my house two thousand miles away. We packed up as much as my camper would hold and then drove down to my ex-sister-in-law’s where I parked my camper in her backyard and flew out to Vegas. A few days after leaving I called Corrine to find out if she had gone home yet. She said one of her children had gone by her house and saw that one of the basement windows had been broken so she called the police. When the police arrived they found Tumo asleep on the couch. He had broken in and was helping himself to the food in the refrigerator. The police also found that in the short time since we left he had several bench warrants out for his arrest for ripping off a cab driver and a motel owner. The last thing I heard was he was in jail – and all he could talk about was finding me!
Thirty-three years later, I still live out West. Even though two years went by before I returned for the sale of my house, I was filled with extreme dread and fear that somehow he might find me. And that is the reason I haven’t included anyone’s true name or the names of the towns or states we lived in.
Now what is the main point I’m trying to make with this intensely personal story of misguided affections and actions? Everyone has to make choices, be it good ones or bad ones. The good choices are rewarding, fulfilling; the bad ones can be learning experiences, learning what NOT to do next time – if there is a next time!
My point is, stay in touch with God – your Creator. Stay protected by God with prayer and meditation. Then, if you make a dreadful error like I did, God will protect you. I will add that had I continued down the wrong path, refusing to pay attention to my common sense, letting my heart lead my head, even when the Truth was staring me in the face, then the consequences will only get worse – to the point of death. This tragically happens over and over with drug addicts. Sometimes people ask, “how could God let something like that happen to her”? Well, we have free will, but if we keep making wrong choices than we pay the consequences. I like to compare it to a child who wants to touch a hot stove. The parent says “no, hot”. The child sort of understands but not enough, so he goes to touch it again. This time the parent is not watching to stop the child, and the child burns his hand. He definitely has learned a lesson and probably will not touch a hot stove again. And so it goes with life – live and learn.
Dear women, please protect yourselves with God’s love – stay in touch with Him through prayer and meditation. This is my prayer for you:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please help those who are about to embark on new adventures.
Guide them, direct them, help them to make wise choices through your Holy Spirit.
Send your angels to protect them against all evil and malice.
In Christ’s name I pray. Amen
*All names have been changed to protect the innocent.