I call this spot my “dark place.” It’s that mental space I rarely indulge – my most private, sacred area. The place where TC lives. Not the TC with the trach tube and the sunken skull. Or the TC that unknowingly calls me “mom” everyday. Not the TC who barely tips the scale at 140 lbs and struggles to write down his own name. It’s the place where the old TC lives. The TC I married.

He’s the one who took care of everyone in his life. The one we bothered with every math and science related question because he always, always knew the answer. The husbaind who lives in this space made a point to spoil me everyday. He would bring home cupcakes to celebrate a positive teacher evaluation. He would cook vegetarian/vegan/kale based meals even though he loved red meat because he knew I’d refuse to eat anything outside of whatever crazy dietary restrictions I was self-imposing at the moment. He would single handedly manage the morning routine with the baby and dog so that I could get to work two hours early to feel well prepared. He massaged my back every day of my pregnancy, managed all the household chores, and planned extensively for our financial future. He loved my passion for teaching despite the fact that it always made more work for him at home and we rarely spent quality time together on the weekdays. He not only offered to help me grade papers and make Excel documents, he was actually excited to help me put together my classroom at the beginning of the school year. In fact, this was one of the final things we did together on the day of his assault.

I call this my dark place because these memories are so visceral and so powerful that the longing I feel for the old TC quite literally paralyzes my heart. I miss this man and everything about him and if I indulge in these feelings for even a moment too long, I crumble. This battle is too long, too hard, and too scary. Remembering my husband as he used to be only breaks down all the armor I have gathered in the past two months.

But it so tempting. All I want to do is close my eyes and remember for a brief second what it used to feel like as he slept next to me. I want to replay every moment of our last conversations just to hear his old voice: clear, strong and confident, so different from the one I hear now.

I want to imagine what the old TC would say if he could watch me struggling to carry this enormous load. He would be horrified to recognize the stress it has caused. He would be heartbroken to watch me so constantly heartbroken. He would take it all away in a millisecond and fix it himself while I enjoyed a long, quiet nap.

This person may return to me one day. I choose to believe that because it’s the only thought that keeps me motivated to fight. But it doesn’t help me miss him any less. This man I married was extraordinary. He gave me a beautiful life and everything I asked for. I owe him all of this in return, so I must honor him by refusing to crumble, by continuing to fight, by restoring everything he had worked so hard for.

With that, I close the door to the dark place, push aside these many memories, and remind myself that I can only look forward.

20 thoughts on “Darkness

  1. Set your sights on a new horizon. The sky will brighten again and you will come to recognize a new level of appreciation for the advancements that have occurred either over a long period or those of the moment. They will come. You will appreciate them.

    Realize if you can that others have been there and their experiences are now examples for you. Speaking with more time invested in caring for someone with a traumatic brain injury that I ever thought capable. I beg you to find something positive in everyday and then cherish that thought with great intensity.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers Abby. Your words demonstrate a love that will not fail you and your difficulties.

    Hang in there and stay strong.


  2. I know this place well, at times I still go there! My husband died 18 years ago. I don't go there very often anymore, but sometimes I can't help myself. It's a hard place to pull myself away from, but I do. I keep telling myself I can not dwell in the past, the here and now and the future is all I have. I hope and pray that the old TC does come back to you! I will continue to keep your family in my prayers.
    Love Donna x


  3. I hope your husband heals and you are able to move on. Crime in DC is understated and we all have to challenge the DC Gov't to do more in all Wards.


  4. Abby
    Where does one even start? I don't know you, but I just read your Blog–you are the most inspiring, loving and courageous woman; living life in a tragic moment. I pray and sincerely hope that your husband recovers to be the person that you knew before this horrible act, but if that is not what God has planned; I KNOW that you will prevail and your life with TC and Jack will be beautiful as you both knew it. Faith is a very strong healing agent and I pray that along with all of your family, friends, acquaintances and the many people who have touched your lives in the past couple of months, your family continues to thrive and each step forward brings you all back together. There really are no “words” to express or take away the anger, frustration, hurt, craziness, and unbelievable moments that take over your very being…just, please know that there are people out here who are thinking of you and hoping that this helps in some small way. Wishing for the very BEST, for you and your family….

    DL Lary


  5. Abby, when I read your post the only thing I can think of is Jesus Christ. You have every right to be angry and every right to scream, curse, and mourn. Continue to pour out your heart to God, for he is a refuge for us. Father, I ask that you will immediately grant abby strength, grace, peace, and wisdom regarding this difficult time in her life. Father, let her know that you are a God that is close and you are in all that we call upon you for, let her know that you are close to the broken hearted and you heal their wounds. Father, I pray that you show yourself strong on the behalf oh her husband and supernaturally restore his motor skills, brain and body in such a measure that the world may know that you are a God that is close and not far off.


  6. I am wishing you strength today. Please know that many of your neighbors are thinking of you, even if you don't know us. 🙂 Peace to you and your family. If there's anything a neighbor can do, please let me know.

    139 Tennessee Ave NE


  7. Your strength and honesty amazes me – I can only imagine how hard this whole situation is for you. I wish I knew you so I could physically do something for you – walk your dog, play with your son, or make you dinner. You will be in my thoughts and prayers hoping the best for you and your family. I know I will go home today and hug my kids a little tighter and tell my husband how much I really love him. Your husband is a lucky man to have you as his wife and you are so lucky to have him and your son. Just know there is a whole world out here who love and support you — even though we don't know you personally.


  8. Abby,
    I don't know you, but have never been so inspired by anyone's story as I am by yours. The striking similarities between your life and mine (pre-assault) have made me realize how precious life and family really are. I will not take my young son and amazing husband for granted ever again. You are a strong woman, mother, and wife and I wish you the best as you carry your family forward through this process. You will succeed.
    Washington, DC


  9. I just want you to know that I'm praying for you and your family. Your husband will get through this just keep the faith I know it may be hard but keep staying strong no matter what and remember God is with you both through it all.


  10. Abby – Wishing you strength during this difficult time. There are many people sending you and your sweet family positive healing energy, even if you don't know us.


  11. Abby, I am amazed by your strength, and by your beautiful words. You truly have a gift for writing. Although we don't know each other, I wanted to let you know that my heart goes out to you and your family. I realize that today is the today you will face the attackers in court, and I am sending you warm thoughts of love and strength. I myself have a young daughter and live in DC, and I can't imagine how hard this all must be on you. Your son is incredibly lucky to have such a strong, loving mama… he will surely grow to be an amazing man, just like his daddy. Love and hugs to you and yours, Abby. Take care of yourself.


  12. You are truly the epitome of what a devoted spouse is. I hope to be as loving as patient as you are. You are incredible, and so is your husband and son. With your attitude, you will succeed. Justice will be served.


  13. Abby, you and your family are always in my prayers. Even though I can't be with you personally, I'm with you in spirit. Stay strong. Loving and thinking of you from a distance….


  14. Abby,

    I knew TC at Bucknell through my dear friend Meghan Lithgow. For the last two months I have been following your blog; each entry evokes so many emotions (and tears!). I have wanted to write to you so many times, but have struggled to find the right words to express how much my heart aches for your family. I admire your courage and strength during this terribly difficult time and I am inspired by your ability to so beautifully share your raw emotions and articulate what you are going through. While you are chronicling your experience, you are also teaching us how to deal with pain and grief while persevering and maintaining hope. As so many have already said, you have thousands of supporters who have never met you, yet you have made an impact on us. I suppose I just want to emphasize that you are not alone in this journey; you have an army of supporters rooting for you and your family. I plan to be your cheerleader for a lifetime! I have been thinking about you and your family daily and will continue to send as much positive energy as I can muster. I wish for continued progress throughout the healing process for TC and continued strength of faith and purpose for everyone caring for TC. I hold you all in my heart.

    With so much love for the Maslins,


  15. Abby:

    Just another stranger compelled to write with words of support and encouragement. I lived on Capitol Hill (8th Street, S.E., two blocks from Eastern Market) in my late 20's. I moved home to Hawaii (where I grew up) after my mother's diagnosis with terminal brain cancer. I can relate to so much of your story: yours and TC's love for Capitol Hill, the pain of watching a previously vital, intelligent person diminished by brain injury, even the challenges of raising an active 2 year old boy (mine are now 3 and 7). I admire the strength and grace with which you appear to be handling the incredible challenges you are enduring and pray that you, TC, Jack (and perhaps TC's “two more”?) recover the beautiful family life you had before August 18th — or perhaps a different, but equally beautiful, family life. In the meantime, I hope it continues to give you comfort that strangers as far away as Honolulu, Hawaii and thinking about and praying for all of you.



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