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Margaret Hanna

"TAMMY"

In March of 1959, a baby girl was born.
Chubby cheeks, oh so sweet, a rose with no thorns.
A blessing to our lives for sure, of that there is no doubt
We were so happy, she was a joy, what our lives were about.

We took her home and she began to grow. She was healthy as could be.
From infant to crawl to walk at ten months and, oh, how she could follow me.
Throughout each day as I did my chores, I would always stop to play
Her hugs, her laughter, brought so much joy to my life, each and every day.

The years went by, they seemed so few. A teenager she had become.
With her own set of morals, her own thoughts and I was so proud of every one.
She was full of energy, so full of life. You could not slow her down.
She thought she had to be involved in all activities that were around.

She was into sports, had so much fun, played the trombone in the school band.
Always busy and on the go, ready to lend a helping hand.
She played the piano at home and church, whatever the tune might be
Fast ones, slow ones and hymns as well. When she played, she felt so free.

The time soon came when she fell in love, a smile so dear on her face.
She had found the perfect guy the one she wanted to be her mate.
After a while a child was born, she had a baby girl of her very own.
She loved her so and found motherhood like nothing she had ever known.

But, one day, things turned wrong for her. Divorce was being talked.
She was no longer happy, she wanted out. So, she picked up the baby and
walked.
Later on, a guy came into her life. One not so good we thought.
But, he gave her all the right lines and that trust in him she bought.

They were married and soon came, a little sister for her first child
She was such a joy, a precious one.  And love for the guy lasted a while.
Then she began to see through him for what he really was like.
She found out things she had never known and it caused her so much strife.

The abuse was often and oh so bad. This secret from us she kept.
She thought it would work, would be better soon. Alone, she endured and wept.
It kept getting worse and she finally knew. She knew she had to leave
Before things got any worse for her and the girls would start to grieve.

She filed for divorce, she was so afraid of all that he might do.
He would not leave her alone.  He harrassed and would follow her too.
She went out with a group of friends one night, to get her mind off everything
He showed up too, just watching her.  And with him a gun did bring.

As she left to go home that night, walking out with all her friends
He fired three shots from where he waited and her life that night did end.
She was so young and vibrant, still so much life yet to live
So many smiles yet to smile, and so much love to give.

I wish it had been meant to be for me to be there that night
To step in between and die for her.  That it had been me to go to the light.
I would gladly have given my life for her so she could continue to live
At twenty-two, she still had so much love and life for her girls to give.

June 21st is a bad day for me and I still wonder why
"Why, dear Lord", I pray.  "Why did she have to die?"
But, it is not meant for us to know or even to understand
We're just to accept and let it be.  To just put it all in God's hands.
Copyright @ October 1997  Margaret Hanna
 
 
 

The Rest of the Story...

It has been a little over 17 years since Tammy died at the hands of the man she was divorcing. She died on June 21, 1981 at the age of 22 years. She left behind two little girls who have never known their mother. They only have the stories and memories we have shared with them. 

The oldest child was 2-1/2 years old. She was the product of a previous 
marriage and had a wonderful father who took her home and has raised her to become a fine young woman of 19. She is now planning her wedding for next May and will not have the love and support of her natural mother by her side sharing this special event. Fortunately, her father married a lady who has been a warm and loving mother to her. But, now grown, she is reflecting back and Tammy is very strong in her mind. 

The youngest child was 4-1/2 months old. We, her maternal grandparents, adopted her and have raised her. She is seventeen and is the light of our life. At this point in her life, her mother seems to be very strong on her mind also although she doesn't discuss it much. She has a tremendous amount on her shoulders, having to live with the fact her biological father murdered her mother in cold blood. But, she is a very strong individual and with our love backing her, she is quite the trooper. She fills her life with helping others. 

The man who murdered Tammy was allowed to plea bargain for a 40 year term and was sent to prison in September, 1981. He was released on parole in April, 1992, serving only a little over ten years. He was restricted from entering our county and also the county in which he was living at the time of the murder. In early 1993, he jumped parole and was a fugitive for five years. I dedicated those five years to searching out his whereabouts and notifying the local law enforcement. They did nothing! Finally, he was added to our local Crimestoppers and on a tip was arrested on June 11, 1998. He was arrested at his home in the restricted county. We thought at the time......"Finally he will be back where he belongs and made to serve out the rest of his term". 
Wrong!!! On July 16, 1998, a letter was sent to us notifying us that he will 
be coming before the parole board within the next 2 to 5 months for 
consideration of parole. We have no justice system! Our fear that he will try to contact the child is back again. She knows he murdered her mother because "if he couldn't have her, no one could" and wonders will he come for her with the same thoughts. She does not want to see him or talk to him. 

I have a scheduled telephone meeting to be held with the parole board at the time of his consideration. The daughter called and requested such a meeting. She was told she cannot voice her opinion on his parole because she is a minor. Ridiculous!! She is 17 years old. Were she to commit a crime, she would be tried as an adult. Were she to decide to join the armed forces, all it would require would be a signature from us, her parents, and she would be able to serve and die for her country. But.....she cannot voice her opinion on how she feels about a parole release for her own biological father? Where is the logic in this??? 

Our laws need to be changed and changed fast. Domestic violence is a raging force and too many are being abused and yes, murdered just as my daughter was. Anyone and everyone who can is asked to join forces with T.E.A.M. and help us to get these laws changed. Help to get the protection needed for all the abuse victims in our sad, sad world. 

If anyone reading this is in a domestic violence situation, take heed to 
Tammy's story and get as far away as possible from your abuser....and stay away. They will say they are sorry, but those words come so easy and are so shallow. Tammy would not come to us, her parents, and swore all to secrecy, afraid we would be hurt or killed by this man. In doing so, she lost her life. She was determined to win the battle by herself. She didn't make it! 

I would like to thank someone who has become a very dear and special friend to me. Without this person, this poem would never have been completed and the events the poem have led to would never have been. He gave me that gentle push, that gentle prod, encouraging me on to write the poem on a very regular basis until the poem was completed. But, it did not stop there. He then submitted the poem for publication and the responses from it led to my move toward using Tammy's poem and story in a fight against domestic violence. 
Therefore, he plays a very intricate part in this webpage and deserves a Great Big Hug. Thank you so much, Marvin Caldwell......from me, my family, and most of all...from Tammy! You have helped make a difference in the life of abused victims and we pray to continue to make a difference in the lives of many others. 

Margaret Hanna
mother of a victim of Domestic Violence 


  

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