Sandy Fulkerson tried everything. The only way to escape her husband, Sgt. Dean Fulkerson, was permanent.
She took down a weapon from the top shelf of their closet. As Dean Fulkerson watched TV in the living room, she loaded the gun.
He didn’t notice her walk past him and out their back door. Not wanting her death to cause a bloody mess inside, Sandy Fulkerson stood in the middle of the couple’s backyard and removed the gun’s safety.
Her hands trembled as she slowly raised the gun to her head, and with tears streaming down her face, she pulled the trigger.
“Nothing happened. Nothing at all,” Fulkerson said. “I brought the gun back down and looked at it, but I was fumbling so bad.”
By that time, Fulkerson was sobbing as she tried to figure out why the bullet jammed.
“On that day, I reached my end and I didn’t see that there was any other way to manage my life,” she said.
Fulkerson spent most of her marriage in fear after her husband returned from the Vietnam War with post-traumatic stress disorder. She transparently details her experiences with domestic violence and rage in “Breadcrumbs on Purpose: Godly Redemption from Disappointment, Loss and Combat Stress.” Fulkerson will sign copies of her book Friday and Saturday at the Clear Creek Main Exchange.
From her book, Fulkerson hopes soldiers, veterans and spouses in violent situations learn there is a better way of living than enduring pain daily.
“Many spouses are going through (pain) because they don’t see hope,” she said. “If my story can bring about one less divorce or domestic assault, than I’ve accomplished something.”
Fulkerson sat at her computer until 5 or 6 in the morning with tears flowing down her face as she relived memories she thought she forgot. Old wounds opened and the pain of getting beaten by her husband and spending 10 months in a brace due to torn breastbone cartilage and a broken rib resurfaced.
As she searched for the perfect combination of words to carry the reader through her struggles, she catapulted further into depression.
So, she took a break.
“I put it aside for two years, didn’t look at it,” she said.
With an incomplete story saved on her computer, Fulkerson felt a sense of urgency to finish writing about the bizarre and horrible events crammed into just one life.
“I knew that I had to complete it, not only for my own benefit, but for others,” Fulkerson said. “It was amazing.”
There are children who are scared to death and hiding in closets and under beds because they’re afraid of the violence in their homes. Fulkerson hopes her story will give soldiers, veterans and their families the tools they need to overcome their own experiences with domestic violence or combat trauma.
“I wanted it to be a message of hope inspiration,” she said. “There is help available for those who are living in darkness and despair.”