BVOV Magazine 2013 - present

Jan : Feb 21

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Page 25 of 47

It was the weekend of her 20th high school reunion. Christy spent Friday evening visiting old friends. On Saturday, she attended a class picnic. Returning home that afternoon, Christy noticed the message light flashing on her answering machine. A chill rippled up her spine when she saw that she’d missed five calls. Four had been from Children’s Hospital and one from an ambulance service. Listening, there was a message for her to call a doctor. Christy trembled as she dialed the number. “I’m afraid that I have some bad news,” the doctor said. “There has been an accident involving your ex-husband and two sons. Garrett is in critical condition at Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, Jacob didn’t make it.” A New Reality “I can’t explain the depth of my pain,” Christy recalls. “It was paralyzing. In a moment, life as I knew it was over. Seeing Jake’s sippy cup sitting on his highchair undid me. When I got to the hospital, Garrett didn’t even look like himself. “They wouldn’t let me see Jake. The police told me their dad had crossed the centerline and hit a truck head-on. Witnesses said they saw him climb out of the wreckage, strip off all his clothing except his underwear, and sit on the sidewalk. “He didn’t even try to help his children,” they said. Toxicology reports confirmed that Tom had been driving under the influence of four narcotics: Xanax, Demerol, Valium and methadone, Christy said. He had also taken Benadryl, an over-the-counter medication known to cause drowsiness. “I loathed Tom for what he’d done,” Christy said. “Because of his choices, I would never hold my baby again. As far as I was concerned, he should have been the one in the morgue, not my 2-year-old son. I’d done everything I could to keep my children safe, but it hadn’t been enough. “Garrett recovered and came home from the hospital. I felt weak with relief that Brittany hadn’t been in that car. A Different Kind of Addiction In fairness, Tom wasn’t the only one who had battled addiction, Christy admits. “While I’d never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, my habit had been getting hooked on unhealthy relationships. Of my parents’ four children, I was the only girl. My dad wasn’t an affectionate man. He never said he loved me. He cursed a lot, and once told one of my brothers he was so stupid he would wind up in jail. “I tried to fly under the radar in hopes of avoiding the verbal abuse. Dad was impatient with me. He’d say, ‘Hurry up, Christy, get to the point. You talk too much.’ He never said, ‘You’re unworthy. You’re insignificant. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say.’ But that’s the message I internalized. “We were Catholic and went to church every Sunday. When I was 15, one of my friends invited me to attend church camp where I got born again. I read my Bible every day, and although my spirit was renewed, my soul was a mess.” As she grew older, Christy’s life became even more of a mess. “All the approval and affirmation I never got from my dad, I tried to find in other men,” she explained. “I believed that when I met the right man, he would fix me. I had no doubt about that. As an adult, I spent every weekend hunting for a man who would give me approval, affection and adoration. I didn’t consider myself promiscuous, but I traded sex for that affirmation.” In college, Christy had excelled, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance and a Master of Business Administration. She met Tom at a gym. At 27, he’d already kicked a drug habit and lost 100 pounds. Christy was impressed with his intelligence and fell in love with his potential. They married in 1985, and after Brittany was born the next year, they moved to Kansas City, Mo. Christy went to work for the Federal Reserve Bank, while Tom trained to become a stockbroker. He was brilliant, eventually becoming the most successful new broker in the 100-year history of the firm where he worked. Cracks in the Foundation “Tom’s success was huge, but he hadn’t developed the character to support it,” Christy explains. “Each time he made a lot of money, he sat around afterward doing nothing except feeding his addiction to pornography and calling a sex hotline. I caught him in one lie after another. I became a very angry, bitter person. I decided I needed a man who treated me better. “I went out of town on a business trip, met a handsome man in a bar and had my first affair. The next morning, I looked in the mirror and smiled. The affair anesthetized my anger, and I felt euphoric. After it wore off, the next one was a lot easier.” 26 : BVOV

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