Every petal thrown at Cameron County TMs Petals on the Lake represented a new start for domestic abuse victims.
Like the petals, Brenda Varela's break with abuse lingers.
"Every time it happened to me, every time I would wake up with the bruises on my face, I would go to work| it would be 104 degrees outside, and I would be wearing a sweater, because I had bruises everywhere, said Brenda Varela. I should have made the choice then to walk out."
Brenda wishes she had left her abuser before her son became his victim.
"He sat across the table from me, and he was trembling, he was shaking, and I asked him what happened, and he wouldn't speak to me, said Varela.
His bruises told what happened.
Brenda said her abuser hit her son in the face.
"I sent my sister a text message behind his back, and I said, ~I need you to come and get me. I can't be here anymore, said Varela. I called the cops, and I pressed charges.
Varela's battle with abuse is not over.
"I mean I TMve had nightmares. I can TMt sleep, said Varela. My son sometimes has nightmares.
Varela still struggles with guilt.
She struggles to remember her bravery.
It may have saved her life.
It may have prevented the cycle of abuse from grabbing hold of her son.
If you need more information on escaping abuse please call the Cameron County Domestic Violence Unit at (956) 544-0849, Extension: 301.
If you live in Hidalgo County, call Mujeres Unidas at (956) 664-2826.
Another 24-hour hotline in the Rio Grande Valley is with Friendship of Women at 956-544-7412