Journalism professor Michele Weldon came to the Reporter office to check on the two of our interns that she is supervising.
She asked after my family, informed me that I had missed the publication of her most recent book and told me that I had married a fine woman (I couldn’t agree more.).
The title is an apt one. Weldon talks at length about how she ignored the signs that her husband was seeking to control her, even during her courtship, and how she even went to a Halloween party dressed as Nicole Brown Simpson.
Part of her denial stemmed from her desire for what she was experiencing not to be so. But another part came from her preconceived notion that domestic violence happened to poor women of color.
Weldon also writes about how she eventually found the strength to get out of her abusive situation. Her parents’ witnessing some of her husband’s unacceptable behavior helped. So, too, did the love of her three sons.
Weldon recognized both that her boys provided her with an unconditional love she did not experience with her husband. Beyond that, though, she realized that to stay with him would provide her sons with an intolerable example of acceptance that they could take with them into adolescence, adulthood and beyond.
So she left.
The departure was not simple, nor was the period afterward instantly and permanently blissful. To her credit, Weldon makes it clear that leaving the relationship does not immediately heal the damage her husband inflicted, but rather that healing is an ongoing process with no clearly identifiable beginning or end.
I Closed My Eyes is not a light read, but it is a courageous account of one women’s journey through beating physically, mentally and spiritually abused and emerging on the other side.