She had the most mischievous smile! Her eyes so big and full of expression. You wondered what this little girl would think up next!
We soon gave this little girl a nick name of "Tigger" because she was always bouncing, jumping, twirling tumbling, and flying through the air. She may have been little, but she was spunky! We gave her another nick name... "Shaniely Pooh". It just seemed to fit her.
Shaniel was our third child, and third daughter, born into the family. She was quiet. She was good. She was a peacemaker. Not only with her brother and sisters, but with friends, as well. Shaniel was a friend to everyone. She was a happy little girl. She was optimistic and positive and always saw the best in people. She was very dependable and responsible as a young girl, and was a sought after babysitter at the age of 10. She loved babies and always had one on her hip.
Shaniel grew into a beautiful young woman. However, she was a typical teenager, and things were not always as they should be. Some of her choices led her down another path, other than what her mother would have liked. She ended up marrying a young man that came from a good family... involved in church and community, and unfortunately that blinded my sense of concern for the most part.
But, signs of abuse started at the onset of their marriage. There was nothing physical, but we knew she was being mistreated in the things he said, the way he controlled her and the finances, and how he tried to isolate her from family and friends. He threw temper tantrums and often tore the house upside down and made Shaniel clean it all back up. He often threatened suicide and harming others. Many other warning signs were surfacing. We expressed our concerns over his ever increasing bad behavior.
In spite of the challenges in her marriage, Shaniel pressed forward with determination and persistence to make things better. She focused on the good things. On her children. She went back to school and got her degree in nursing. She had two children at the time and became pregnant once again... with twins. Even being on bed rest for the last two months didn't stop her. The next year she graduated at the top of her class and became an R.N. Her career took her into the home health field where she cared for the sick and elderly... and those who were homebound. She soon became a well beloved nurse in the community. Her patients loved her. She was tender and compassionate and became fast friends with those she took care of.
Shaniel was in the middle of a promising future. She was taking care of the family financially. She loved her children and provided opportunities for them to participate in sports and musical ambitions. She attended all their school activities, concerts, and games. She played with them and took them on adventures. She loved family and often made the 3 hour drive to be a part of family activities. Shaniel loved her salsa garden, flowers, her yard, and hiking and camping in the outdoors. Shaniel was fascinated with building things. She never used a blueprint or followed instructions. She just built it! She was persistent and determined in every aspect of her life. She was loyal and trustworthy. She had a witty and humorous personality. She was someone you loved to be around... always smiling and laughing. Her laugh was contagious. She was brave and courageous. She never let on that things were as hard, at home, as they really were. She protected her husband. She protected her children.
Shaniel was making a difference in her life, personally. She was blossoming. On the other hand, her husband was on a downward spiral. Maybe it was depression.. but it soon led to his dismissal at work. He couldn't cope with life. Shaniel spent countless hours over several years taking him to one psyc after another trying to get to the bottom of "whatever it was." It was always the same result.... nothing! Was it a game he played in his own mind or with her's? All I know is that we knew something was wrong, and finally, Shaniel started to accept it for the way it really was. Sometimes it just can't be fixed.
Shaniel had become emotionally drained from the mental, emotional, and verbal abuse he put her through over so many years. She had become concerned for the emotional welfare of the children. After much thought and planning, she decided to leave him. Saturday, she told him she was leaving on Monday. He never let her. Sunday, he killed her.
In loving memory of my beautiful daughter.
My angel... Shaniel
March 4, 1980 - February 10, 2013
My sweet daughter had so much to live for. Her tragic death has been far reaching and wide. It has affected her family, her children, and all who knew and loved her. I miss her every single day and wish I could hug her and tell her I love her just one more time. Though, I am grateful and comforted in knowing I will one day see her again.
If someone you know is being abused, please speak up, do anything you can to get them out of the situation. Someday, they will thank you, and another precious life saved from the harmful and tragic effects of abuse.
My daughters and I have started a Shaniel's Story facebook page in support of Domestic Violence Awareness. Please visit us at https://www.facebook.com/Shanielstory.
Writers prompt #3: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Inspired by Carol a blog friend hosting a walk, in honor of her daughter Shaniel who recently lost her life due to Domestic Violence.