I live near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, the town is truly a place for lovers and usually ranks among the top five places for honeymooners. Log cabins with heart-shaped beds and beautiful views of the starry nights from hot tubs. On the eve of Valentine’s Day, this tiny town of romance was shaken to the core by a horrible murder this weekend. I hope by sharing this on gather, any of my connections that may find themselves in an abusive relationship will realize that the abuse is not deserved and is only going to get worse.
A couple with a history of abuse (the husband had been arrested numerous times for violent acts against the wife/girlfriend) decided to get remarried over the holidays.
The bride was a mother of four, three of the children fathered by her previous and soon-to-be husband. They had a quiet wedding in front of their town’s justice of the peace in another part of the state and drove to Gatlinburg for a romantic weekend getaway.
No one will ever know exactly what happened. Perhaps the husband had gotten drunk and got out of hand. Perhaps in his paranoid mind, he thought a waiter was trying to flirt with his wife. Maybe he was just tired after the drive.
Hotel staff and police found the wife stabbed to death in the very late hours of Sunday/very early hours of Monday when her family became concerned. While the police haven’t given specifics, I imagine the family was worried when the couple did not return to pick up their children.
What we do know is that the young mother (I believe she was 34) had been stabbed to death. While it shocked the small town with a tourist trade built on love, it saddened the bride’s family. Shock wasn’t exactly a word the television news used. A series of family and friends appeared on television talking of how they had begged her not to drop previous charges, how they had begged her not to take him back this time or previous times, and how they felt responsible because they somehow knew this would eventually happen.
I guess by sharing this tragic story, I hope someone might see themselves in this story and gain the strength or motivation to leave. These four young children will no longer have their mom. A mother has lost a daughter, and a sister and brother their beloved little sister. She thought he would never do this. She thought he was a little hot-tempered, but knew he would only go so far. Maybe she even thought she deserved to be beaten sometimes.
Love is not a battlefield and it shouldn’t hurt. Maybe this young lady could not protect herself with a restraining order. But maybe her family could have helped. I hope no one thinks I am blaming the victim. That’s not the case at all. No one deserves to live a life of abuse and no one certainly deserves to die while on their honeymoon. Please reach out for help.