Sunday, April 1, 2007


Her name was Bernie O’Brien and she was my “FIRST”.

No, not my first lover; she was my first female platonic friend. I was over 40 years old and all women had either been mothers or lovers. I had no female acquaintances that were just “friends”. This was a whole new world for me. It was like living in black and white and then suddenly seeing things in color. Women do not think like men. Our friendship allowed me to see a whole new world through her eyes. She even saved my life once, but that is another story.

We shared secrets and could be completely honest with each other. There was no need for silly games or hollow lies. She confessed she was attracted to a tall dark handsome Military Police sergeant. I arranged for them to go on a blind date. They hit it off and fell in love. It was the worst thing I ever did in my life, especially to a friend.

My first clues were the bruises. She said she fell down or bumped into a door, but I knew there was something else wrong. Finally he made the mistake of hitting her when I was there. I slammed him against the wall and told him if he ever touched her again, I would make him limp the rest of his life. For Bernie, that was the beginning of the end of our friendship.

He always told her he was sorry and promised to never hit her again; but somehow he always forgot those promises. I could feel the sadness in her voice as she said we could no longer be friends. I asked her to be careful and told her I loved her. Her last words to me were she loved me too. We spoke those words over twenty years ago but I never forgot my friend. Every Christmas I would call Bernie’s mother and wish everyone health and happiness. This year her mother said Bernie was dead. Her husband had broken his promise one last time.

It is difficult to imagine partner abuse being in the city of “Gentle People” but sadly it is everywhere. It is not a problem with easy solutions. If psychological or physical abuse is destroying your life get professional help. Protect yourself. You are not alone. Others have faced the same problems, let them help you find an answer. Help is a close as your neighborhood church and internet café. (

Someone who loves you does not hit you. Despite the promises, once the hitting starts it probably will never stop. It can even spread to include your children. The violence will usually gradually get worse until serious injury or even death can the result. If you are the abuser, seek help. You have anger issues and need professional help. If you are being abused, leave. Bruised pride and being alone is better than being crippled or dead.

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