Ms. M. and I continued our trip to complete her errands and as we moved along from stop to stop she regaled me with bits and pieces of her life. At one time she lived in a prosperous part of town in a nice home with her first husband and two children. This part of the tale became a bit cloudy but she mentioned drugs and her husbands habit and the demise of that relationship that produced two daughters. These daughters live in New Orleans, one a lawyer, the other with a master's degree in social work. I quietly wondered why they weren't helping their mother who was in such dire straits. That revelation would come later as the story of her life continues.
Very nonchalantly, she continued with the story of the second husband who was abusive and "I killed him." Without missing a beat she spoke of the abuse and the three sons produced from that union. I tried not to look slack jawed at her admission of murdering someone. I slid a look sideways at her and then turned back to my task of driving.
I gathered she was on disability; the 'check' she mentioned was apparently not a physical disability. I had to ask.
Bipolar. Then she mentioned that she was on methadone. She continued on with her tale of homelessness and how she had lived in a shelter for a year while her sons were elsewhere. Eventually I had to ask, "What was your drug of choice?"
Quite openly she said "Meth and IV pain medicines."
She didn't hesitate or try to evade any questions I asked and I knew now why her daughters had not come to her rescue. Apparently, though struggling in their new careers, they had sent her 300.00 a month to pay for her methadone. The methadone keeps her off street drugs and the daughters knew this and had lived with her drug and alcohol problems during their childhood.
She had been on methadone for 8 yrs. and as soon as her disability came through, she left the homeless shelter and rented a place to live with her two sons.
Piecing together the stories and getting them in chronological order requires many clarifications. Apparently, until the three boys came 'of age' she collected social security from the second husbands account. The husband that she "killed". When it ran out she was penniless and homelessness was the end of this particular part of her life.
We made our final stop of the day to the bank to get her free 4 blank checks she can get each month. She had to pick up her methadone the next day. As we entered the final phase of our trip, I had to ask "How did you kill your husband?"
"A fillet knife to the heart." She was feeding the chickens, the ground was muddy. He slapped her to the ground and while in the mud, he kicked her. When he went back into the house, he had a fillet knife hidden in the bed where he lay. When she walked into the room, he jumped from the bed and came at her with the knife. She grabbed his arm turning the knife toward him; he stumbled into her and the knife lodged in his heart.
She wasn't indicted for the death. It was noted as "self defense".
There is a lot more to this woman's story; the early death of her mother in Oklahoma; her father sending her to Louisiana to a girl's school and never coming to see her and the street life we had no time to discuss.
I make no judgement on this person. I will make sure she has food this month. She has had unexpected expenses and feeding her family shouldn't have to be one of her worries.
One of the stores had a sale on chicken leg quarters and eggs. I stopped by this morning and bought 20 lbs at .49cents a pound. 99cents for a dozen eggs. I came home and cut the leg quarters up and bagged them in gallon zip lock bags and put them in the freezer. Tomorrow I will call Ms. M. and make arrangements to deliver them to her home. You can make a lot of different dishes out of chicken. Egg sandwiches are healthy and filling. I'm sure it will be appreciated. She appreciates any kindness offered her.
"But for the grace of (insert your higher power here) go I..and maybe even you.