After the kids and I left him behind in the Hemet, CA dust, and moved to Nashville, we all sighed some relief. I knew I had to move as far away from him as possible. One reason was to protect us all. The other was that I knew he didn’t have enough money to come see us. During the divorce hearing, I brought up the abuse. The judge said I was making everything up. I was devastated. Actually, let me back up. There was a mediator, a woman, who was to talk to each one of us separately, and then the children collectively. Cezar must have charmed her because she recommended visitation, all four of my babies to go to his apartment, two full weekends a month! That’s when the judge said I was making everything up. I think I turned to stone that day. Numb. Dead. My children were ages 1.5 to 6 at that point. And they were being made to visit their abusive monster of a father every other weekend. But I knew somewhere in my heart that this wouldn’t be allowed for long. I knew Cezar would hang himself. I just wish I could have been there to see it. Actually make the noose, tighten the knot, secure it around his neck, kick out the stool from under him.
After court, we all went outside. Cezar came up to me and said, “Don’t ever do that to me again.” He meant telling all of our secrets. I felt threatened like old times, so like an abused person with no self-esteem and my head in a fog, I nodded. But somewhere inside I knew I was lying, and I would have a second shot at telling my story.
The visitations began. I hugged all four of my babies tight against me, not wanting them to go. I glared at Cezar as he drove off with them. I went inside my now childless house, full of horrible memories, and cried. Not long after, Fia called me crying. She was so tiny back then, so afraid. She wanted to come home. I talked to her for an hour I think. Finally convinced her that she could call me anytime she wanted to, and that seemed to comfort her. She did call several times that first weekend. I was elated when his car drove up on Sunday, giving them back to me. I asked them a lot of questions to make sure nothing horrible had happened. Other than traumatizing them all, no, nothing had happened.
One weekend Cezar didn’t show up at all. I jumped around the house with joy. My children joined in. In knew they didn’t want to be there either.
As weekends came and went, my youngest three were severely traumatized from being away from me. A new court hearing was set. I told my story to a new mediator, a man this time. Cezar wasn’t able to charm him. The mediator, who I thought of then and still do, as an angel in disguise, or at the very least, my prince, told the judge that the three youngest were never to go back to Cezar’s apartment. That they were so traumatized that he was worried about their recovery. The only way Cezar could see them was in my home, supervised visits, one hour, every other Saturday. The eldest, Rhona, was still allowed to go over to his apartment, but only if she wanted to. I was elated! I thanked the mediator over and over again. I might have even hugged him.
Rhona did want to go back, even though she was the one most abused by him. One time she came home and said that she saw Cezar’s older daughter in his bedroom. He had given her candy, or money to rub his back and feet with oil. It made me sick. The last time Rhona went over there she came home with bruised ribs. Cezar’s older son had pushed her into a coffee table. When she said, “I don’t think I want to go back again,” I cried. Finally I had them all back, he couldn’t do anything about it, and as I knew he would do, he had hung himself.