After switching off the alarm, Dave automatically reached over to caress his wife when his arm landed with a thud on the empty side of the bed. He winced. With every reminder of her absence, he felt pain. And everything reminded him of her.
Before 2009, life was perfect. Dave and Susan had both been very happy in what they felt was the ideal marriage. They had two beautiful daughters, ages two and three. Dave practiced law at the firm of Moyer, Beasely and Frank - Susan was a stay-at-home mommy, putting her counseling practice on hold. The two met on a singles retreat and managed throughout their marriage to stay involved in their church. Dave and Susan had it all. And then…
“We’ll be back about midnight, Lori!” they yelled on their way out the door. Lori, Susans’s charismatic younger sister had been babysitting the girls since they were old enough to leave behind. Now at sixteen, she was like an American Idol to them, and they adored her. They trusted her. Everyone did.
“I’ve seen these kinds of bruises before. It’s just not right that a 2-year old has bruises down there!”
“Joan, I know the Stevens. Neither Dave or Lisa would ever do anything to hurt those girls, you know they wouldn’t!
“Are you going to fill out the report?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Mrs. Stevens, I’m Karen Walker from CPS…Child Protective Services. May I come in?”
It was believed by CPS workers that Dave must have molested his daughter and because he had no remorse for his actions, he was barred from seeing her or his family until further notice. He couldn’t understand how life could go south so quickly. When someone mentioned a babysitter, CPS pretty much dismissed the possibility of her as perpetrator. Dave was their man, the most likely candidate – and someone had to be blamed.
“Dave, this is going to be really hard for me, so I’m just going to say it.”
“Say what Mr. Moyer, are you…?”
Hand raised, Dan Moyer, Senior Partner interrupted, “Dave, you’ve been a part of this firm for almost seven years now – and you’ve done a great job! Here comes the hard part. Dave – we need to let you go.”
“But why, I was on the edge of becoming a partner!”
“Dave, the newspapers, the TV… your story is everywhere.”
“Mr. Moyer, you can’t possibly believe what they’re saying. It’s not true. I haven’t been convicted or even charged with anything. How could...?”
“I’m sorry, Dave.”
A year and a half later:
During this ordeal, Dave’s faith in God never wavered, but his confidence in Christians had truly been tested. Because he was cut off from his family, he had to avoid common gathering spots…like church. And though he was prevented from attending all church activities, he truly expected that his “Christian brothers” would reach out to him in his suffering. None did. Honestly, he may have avoided them anyway, but he never got the opportunity. His wife on the other hand was continually surrounded by her supportive church family.
Susan knew Dave was innocent…at least now she did. At first she didn’t believe he was guilty, but as the state worker pointed out, the only other possible abuser could have been her baby sister, Lori – and that was impossible, right?
Now everyone knows that Dave is innocent. And not only that, he was never convicted or even charged with the crime so everything is good, right?
Though strained, Susan and Dave’s love for each other persevered during the nightmare. But suffering through false allegations and wondering how they could ever get their life back together caused things to be…awkward at best. They were trying to make it work, they were trying to win each other’s trust, and they were trying to seek God.
Susan was trying.
Dave was unsure.
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