“Life Before and After Disaster” by P.C.A.W.

Was life going the way Jane had dreamt as a child? She had pictured married life based on her parents. When their fiftieth anniversary was celebrated, they still acted like newlyweds. Vacations were spent travelling as a family, going to places like Marine Land, the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, and the Toronto Zoo. Christmases were rotated between grandparents, aunts and uncles, and her sisters and brothers when each was old enough to strike out on their own. What she got was a far cry from any of this.

The early years, before Janelle was born, could be considered idyllic. ┬áJane’s husband of the time was normal by society standards. He worked as a mechanic bringing in fairly good money. Any time Jane suggested they needed a new couch or anything, he had no hesitation in purchasing said item. Then something happened just after she found out she was pregnant. Her husband lost his job and he would not disclose why. For all her begging and pleading, she still does not know why he lost his job. Life as she knew it changed.

During her pregnancy, she did not fear for her safety, but it was not unusual for her husband to come home drunk after the proverbial pounding the pavement looking for work. Unfortunately, he was a mean drunk and thought nothing of smashing anything in his way. Money became very tight. Jane was not eating properly, and the doctor seemed concerned about her baby. It wasn’t growing at the expected rate. This added to Jane’s stress level. She wanted her baby to be healthy. Fortunately, she was able to claim for maternity leave with Human Resources when she reached her third trimester. This helped with the money for the proper food she should be eating. Her husband also managed to land a job doing an auto run. This is when you pick up a stack of papers and deliver them over an assigned route to the subscriber. This was some money coming in, but this type of job became very hard on the vehicle. Tires would blow from nails run over on the country roads. The transmission blew. It was nothing to run out of gas because the gas gauge did not work properly. Unable to procure a bank loan, this job and its income soon went the way of a snowball in the sun.

After the baby was born with no health problems, naming the precious little angel became a bone of contention. Jane wanted to name her Angel Mae in honour of her sister who had died when Jane was a very young age. Her husband was set on naming the little girl Brandy Wine, after one of his drinking buddies. Jane wondered if this was truly his buddy’s name. After many hours of discussion in the hospital, a compromise was finally reached. This beautiful little girl would be known as Janelle Angela Breanne.

As Janelle grew, her father seemed to lose interest in doing fatherly duties. No longer would he get up at night for feeding and changing. He did not play with Janelle anymore. He wouldn’t take her for walks in her baby carriage. If Janelle cried, it appeared to truly upset him. As he became more distant with Janelle, his behaviour changed. He started drinking and becoming aggressive again. This time, Jane did fear for Janelle’s safety as well as her own.

After Jane’s husband broke Jane’s nose and severely cut the outside corner of her eye, making the doctors concerned about her eyesight, an executive decision was forthcoming. She could no longer live in abject fear of the next outburst, and would not place sweet little three-year-old Janelle in harm’s way either. She moved in with her ailing mother. Jane’s mother is no longer living, and she has created a memorial garden in the front yard to honour her. Jane knows this was the best decision she has ever made. Admittedly, finances always plague the equilibrium of life, but life is saner, safer and more enjoyable since she left and divorced her husband.

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