My name is Paula and I want to share my identical twin sister’s story. Carla and I were born in 1968 as mirror image twins. At times, our parents couldn’t even tell us apart. They had to put me in blue and her in pink to even half way get it right. Growing up, Carla always had the long term relationships with guys; I wasn’t the serious type back then. When we were in our early 20’s, I met my future husband (now ex) and the father of my kids. At our wedding, she met his best friend and 6 six weeks later they married and had two kids also. A few years down the road, they divorced. Carla then began going to this sports bar in the city we grew up in and met her future abuser. I wasn’t one to go bars, maybe to watch a big football game every now and then I would, but not a lot. The abuser was over the karaoke, and Carla loved karaoke. This is how he pulled her in. After they started hanging out, going out, she started to act distant, even with her kids. Our brother had told me that the rumor was that the abuser was known for doing cocaine and even selling it. I confronted Carla about it and she said that it was a rumor started by the abusers ex-girlfriend, who my brother had been dating. I didn’t think much more of it. I started to notice bruises on her arms and the side of her face. Like every other abuse victim, there was an excuse of how clumsy she was. My gut told me different! After all, we were twins and I knew a lot before she even told me. One morning, around 1am I got a phone call to hear her screaming, he is going to kill me. She ran behind a church down the road from their home, with only the clothes on her back. My husband and I got to her in time and she went to our home for a few days until she decided to give him another chance. This happened two or three more times, with us going to get her each time. Then the alienation started. He came up with this idea of moving away, both of them, for a fresh start. He told her he would even let her choose. She chose Nashville, after he said that was one of her choices. Now keep in mind, Carla and I spoke every day, several times a day, even if we weren’t together with the kids doing something. The phone calls started dwindling down to one or two a week, then maybe once every few weeks. Her daughter called me one day and asked me if I had a new number for her mom. I told her I didn’t even know she had a new number. Then the calls stopped all together. She had not called to check on her kids, our parents, and she even missed her kid’s birthdays. Time had gone by (weeks I’m assuming), and I get a call from Vanderbilt Hospital asking me to identify Carla. They assured me she was alive, but was placed in a sedated state. She didn’t identify herself, so I said this was a cruel joke and hung up on her. She called me back and I asked her to give me identifying marks on Carla. She gave me two and then I knew it was her. She explained what had happened to Carla, severe head trauma, bruises and cuts. I asked her where he was. She said I would need to call the local police to get information. I was assured there was someone with Carla, from what they call a safe house, and no one was allowed to talk to her or see her. Then my life mission began! The next day I called the local police station to get a report number. There wasn’t one. I called to get a report from the ambulance company, there wasn’t one. Come to find out, the abusers brother was best friends with the police chief. I called this police station every day for 6 weeks. Never received a report at all. While I was doing all this, her daughter informed me that her mom had called her the night of the final attack, screaming, begging her to call the cops that he was going to kill her. Carla told her that he was beating her with the butt of a gun and had busted a liquor bottle over her head. He then yanked the phone out of the wall and she couldn’t get back in touch with her mom. Forward about a month, I finally get Carla back home in our town. I told her she was going straight to rehab when I picked her up from the bus station. She was glad to. During intake they asked a lot of stuff, there are somethings a sister never wants to hear about her sister, but I did. My heart was broken for her and what she had endured. To this day, I have not shared what I heard her say, not to her daughter or even my husband and I never will. I begged the nurse and doctor to let me stay with her; I didn’t want her to be alone ever again. They said I couldn’t. When I left, there was the biggest sigh of relief I have ever had. She was safe and he couldn’t get her again. She completed 28 days and she did so well. But then, the after effects started. Violent seizures, losing her driver’s license because of the seizures. She couldn’t go outside without sunglasses, couldn’t watch TV in the dark because it triggered seizures, and couldn’t watch movies in 3D. She was totally dependent on me and my husband for everything. She then began having panic attacks for fear of having a seizure in public. Her neurologist then runs more tests because her seizures are more frequent and more violent. Carla had five inches of scar tissue at the base of her brain. While he is running one of the tests, she had 22 mini seizures. She was so discouraged and I informed her as I had so many times in our lives, God made us twins for a reason. He knew one of us would need to be a little bit stronger than the other. I also told her that I would fight her fights for her; I did it when we were growing up and I would continue to do it now. Now let me go back to the beginning for a minute. The abuser had introduced Carla to pills, cocaine and anything else you can think of. I know from the purest and deepest part of my heart, she would have never taken a pill or done cocaine had she never met him. I KNOW THIS BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT! On May 23, 2013, my husband and I had taken my mother to a Drs appointment. When we left the house, Carla was there with her first grandson, eating pizza and just playing with him, happy beyond words. We came back two hours later and her daughter had pulled up right before us. What we thought was Carla having another seizure, ended up taking her out of this world. She had a massive heart attack. Gone just that quick. 10 weeks later when we got her autopsy report, the coroner assured me it was from the high intake of cocaine in a short time (5-6 mths). A detective friend had told us that if it can be proved that her seizures had anything to do with her death; we could have filed charges under criminally negligent homicide. But he got away with it again. If you are reading this and you are in a violent relationship, know someone who is in a violent relationship OR if you think someone is, please do not wait till it is too late. PLEASE call anyone, someone! I lost my best friend, my twin, my better half. And it has been a living nightmare. I would not wish this on anyone ever! LOVE DOESN’T HURT, LOVE DOESN’T KILL, AND LOVE DOESN’T REMOVE YOU FROM THE ONES WHO LOVE YOU.