The date was August 21, 2001 – our daughter Anjelica’s 8th birthday. It was a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for the trip to the dentist from Nashua, NH to Wilmington, DE in our favorite family vehicle: a Trinidad TB-20, a 5 passenger single propeller airplane that was reminiscent of a DeLorean sports car with its sleek lines and gull wing doors. Anjelica amused herself in the backseat, while I sat silently in the co-pilot’s spot beside my husband, Lou, mentally plotting exactly how to kill him.
As a result of my promotion at work, we had relocated from Delaware to New Hampshire the previous summer, but Lou, who was not happy about the move he had approved, held on tight to some old ties in Delaware: one being his personal bodybuilding trainer, and the other our family dentist. He had scheduled the cleanings without any consideration for Anjelica’s birthday, and I really didn’t have a say in the matter. We were at a pivotal point in our 20 year marriage; everything had taken a significant turn for the worse since my job change. I wanted to divorce, and he did not.
In June, I had confronted him with evidence that I was aware of his most recent on-going affair, that I knew about his other past relationships, and that for my own mental health and well being, I was no longer willing to stay married. I told him that I only needed enough money to get set up with a small place to live in the same town, that he could keep the estate-like home that we had just built, and that we would share joint custody of our daughter. What I did not say, was that I was scared to death of him, and that my actual reason for divorce had little to do with his extramarital activities.
I had seen a doctor at the beginning of the year because I was having episodes of heart palpitations and light headed dizziness. Cardiac issues ran rampant in my family history, so I assumed I was next in line for a heart attack, despite the fact that I was fit, exercised regularly, ate healthy food, didn’t smoke, and rarely drank alcohol. When we sat to review the results of all the medical tests that had come back negative, the doctor asked what was going on in my personal life. I explained that I had recently gotten a new job where I was managing a big project, that I had lived alone in hotels for months, while we looked for a place to live that was acceptable to my husband, had finally built a new house and moved, and that my husband and I had been fighting a lot through the whole year and a half long transition. I was diagnosed with depression induced anxiety and sent to a psychiatrist.