Shannon’s Soapbox: Wash. Rinse. Repeat.: A Memoir, Part 3

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By Shannon Taylor

Associate Editor

Editor’s note: The following contains graphic information. Reader discretion is advised.

His ex had broken into the house. For some reason it was just my daughter and I at home. I don’t know where everyone else was at. His ex had me tied up in a chair and was holding my daughter where I could watch. She started cutting off pieces of my daughter one by one with hedge clippers. Her ear, then fingers and toes. Half of my daughter’s arm fell to the floor and she was screaming and begging for his ex to stop and for me to help her, but I couldn’t do anything. I was helpless to watch her suffering until pieces of her are piled all around me — the only thing untouched is her face—and again her lifeless eyes stared at me in accusation:

“Why didn’t you do anything, Mommy? Why didn’t you save me?”

What makes this dream different is that it didn’t end there.

I went to her funeral. There were flowers everywhere — the sickening sweet smell of them overpowered everything — making me choke. The tiny casket was being lowered into the ground and I was screaming at everyone that they could NOT put her in the dark.

“She’s scared of the dark. She needs someone to snuggle with her. She needs her stuffed animals. Please, I’m begging you, don’t put my baby in the dark!”

No one even noticed I was screaming.

As they continued to lower her into the ground, I screamed at them that her freckles would fade in the ground … her tiny little freckles erased. I threw myself into the ground with her and this is when I felt the scream build again and I woke up.

I couldn’t do this anymore. I just couldn’t.

I needed a therapist because the person that actually needed a therapist wouldn’t get a therapist!

The next day I somehow got through the one final I had and picked my stepson up from school in South Fulton. He had an ornament hanging in Union City because his ornament had been picked by the city to be hung on the big tree in front of the courthouse. I dreaded this because I knew his would be there. My husband couldn’t make it because he didn’t get off work until 4:30 and the ceremony started at 4:30.

So, it was just me, my stepson, and my oldest son. My daughter was at my mom’s.

The entire ceremony went well, except that his ex was close behind me and I could feel her eyes staring holes into the back of my head.

When it was over, his ex rushed up to try to pull my stepson away. I told her that she could take a few pictures and then we had to go. She started to argue with me, her face scrunched up like a troll, and all I wanted to do was bash her teeth in. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t look at her. If I looked at her I would hit her. I knew I would.

“I need to take him across the street to see his Nana and brother,” his ex scrunched her face again and crossed her arms.

“No, that’s not going to happen. He stays here. You can take your pictures right here where I can see him, and then We. Are. Leaving.” I remained calm but enunciated those last three words.

“You’re not his mother,” she spit at me, her eyes becoming mere slits in her face.

“But I AM his mother — his step-mother — and I have custody of him right now, as you well know. So, guess what? You can either stand here and argue with me and waste everyone’s time, or you can take a few pictures with him and go on your merry way. Your choice.” I looked pointedly at her and waited.

She grabbed my stepson by the arm, pulled him to her and took a selfie. She hugged him and whispered, “I’m sorry baby, it’ll be okay. I’ll get you back, don’t worry. I’m sorry Shannon won’t let you see the rest of your family,” she started patting him on the back and rocking and swaying back and forth with him like he was a toddler.

The repeat of the words she whispered had the effect on him they always have, and he started crying. This was her goal all along, as she has done this numerous times at pick-ups/drop-offs.

“Oh, baby, baby. I’m so sorry. Come here, there there,” she fake consoled him.

I stepped between them and pulled him away from her before it got any worse.

“Are you serious?” she started to come toward me to pull him back, but at that moment my stepson’s principal, Miss Pitts stepped toward her.

“Miss, you need to go. You’ve taken your pictures and now it’s time to leave,” Miss Pitts said firmly.

I didn’t even look back. I silently thanked Miss Pitts as I walked toward our car and realized his ex had no power here.

I wondered if having no power made her more dangerous.

When I got home, I told my husband what all happened, and he took a really good look at me and asked me if I was okay.

I realized at that moment that I needed to tell him what all had happened.

I told him I needed him to listen and not make silly jokes because it was going to be hard for me to tell. I said this, because I despised crying, and I didn’t want to cry in front of anyone if I could help it. He knew this and promised that he wouldn’t make any jokes or be his usual funny self.

I didn’t even get two minutes in before I burst into tears.

He walked over to me and put his arms around me like a blanket covering my scars, and I rested my head on his chest letting it all out.

He let me cry until I was finally able to finish telling him the story. He stared at me, mouth agape, at the horror of what the last couple weeks had been like for me.

“Shannon, no one is going to harm our daughter. I promise you that that child is too protected by us for her to get anywhere near her. She would have to come through both of us first. She’s only trying to get under your skin, and you’ve let her succeed.”

“I know, I sighed. It’s easier said than done, though.”

I stopped having dreams of my daughter dying after that night.

I don’t know if it was because of the ornament hanging and seeing her so powerless, or the conversation I had with my husband that did it. His ex still threatened to kill her, along with numerous other threats.

A year later, we were awarded full and final custody and even more threats ensued, but again — no following through with them on her part.

Topix was shut down for good shortly after that so she wasn’t able to threaten anonymously anymore and she keeps what threats she does post on Facebook extremely vague so as not to get into any trouble.