Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories ever since she was ten-years-old. Eventually she settled into a career in the non-profit sector and then went back to school to get her law degree. While she was in school, she documented her divorce and child custody battle in her memoir, Who Am I? How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, which was released on August 2, 2014. Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy. Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with Troy Youth Assistance as the Fundraising Chair on the Board of Directors.
Megan Cyrulewski is an ordinary person who has faced extraordinary challenges and now wants to inspire people and show them that hope gives them the power to survive anything. Who Am I? is about her journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, visits to the psych ward, divorce, domestic violence, law school, and her courageous struggle to survive with her sanity intact—and how a beautiful little girl emerged from all this chaos.
On January 18, 2012, we all convened in the courthouse for the Motion for Parenting Time hearing. My dad and I arrived with my attorney, but Tyler loved an audience so he brought his dad, step-mom, and his new on-again off-again girlfriend, Heather. Tyler walked in with his posse in tow, cocky as hell. It took all of two minutes for the judge to knock him off his feet.
The Judge addressed our respective attorneys. “Why are we here?”
“Your honor,” Tyler’s attorney began, “my client has clearly been denied his parenti—”
The Judge didn’t even let him finish. “How?” She turned to my attorney. “Don?”
“Your honor, as you can see in the divorce decree, there was supposed to be a review when the minor child turned twelve-months-old. The Defendant has ignored that review.”
“I—if I may, your honor,” Tyler’s attorney sputtered.
“I see the review in the decree. It’s here in black and white,” she told Tyler’s attorney. “What is the problem? Why didn’t you understand the review? Your client signed the divorce decree.”
Tyler’s attorney tried again. “But your honor—”
The judge cut him off. “There is to be a review conducted by the Friend of the Court referee assigned to the parties. Until then, the Defendant will continue his parenting time schedule as agreed upon in the divorce decree. Dismissed.”
And that was it. After eight police reports and numerous harassing text messages, phone calls, and e-mails, we won. As Don and Tyler’s attorney went to speak with the clerk to file the necessary paperwork, Don told us to wait for him outside the courtroom.
As we exited the courtroom, the hallway was so packed with people that my dad and I were only able to find enough space to lean against the wall. We were talking about the court proceedings when we looked up at saw Tyler and his new girlfriend standing right across from us.
“Why do you lie about everything?” Tyler screamed.
Heather walked up to me and stood about an inch from my face. “As a mother myself, you should be happy that Tyler is the father of your child.”
My jaw dropped. “I’m sorry but I don’t know you.”
She smirked. “Well you’re going to get to know me, bitch.”
Tyler made a big show of pulling her from me like I was going to punch her or something. By this time, everyone in the hallway was watching us. We were pure entertainment.
Heather continued her rant. “Two times in the psych ward, Megan? What a great mother you are.”
“Where is your mom, the real mother of our child?” Tyler screamed. “She’s the one who takes care of Madelyne.”
My dad and I tried to move away from Tyler and Heather but they followed us.
“Awww…” Heather mocked. “Do you have to take a Xanax because of your anxiety?”
“Go take your Xanax and sleeping pills, you drug addict,” Tyler shouted.
Finally, Don emerged from the courtroom and pulled us into a quiet corridor. He explained that I needed to call our referee to set-up a meeting to discuss a visitation schedule. I told Don about the verbal assault by Tyler and Heather. Don said he would call Tyler’s attorney to let him know that Heather would not be allowed in my house.
Upon leaving the courthouse, Heather screamed, “See you on Sunday, Megan.”
I turned toward her and said calmly, “I don’t know you, but you are not welcome in my home.”
That night, Tyler sent me multiple texts attacking my mothering skills, my supposed drug addictions, how he was going to fight for joint custody of Madelyne, how Heather would be accompanying him for his visitations, and a barrage of other insults:
· “Get a life already”
· “Don’t you have something better to do than wasting your parents’ money?”
· “Go take your pills and relax, oh yeah, then your parents would have to watch our daughter. Oh yeah, they already do.”
· “Go talk to your friends. Oh yeah, you don’t have any because of how crazy you are.”
· “Interesting to know you’ve been to the hospital a couple of times. You really need to get it together.”
· “Better go call your lawyer and make up some more stuff about me.”
· “Don’t be mad at your sorry life.”
· “I am sure living with Mom and Dad the rest of your life will be fun.”
· “When you get a job, then you can pay me child support. Fun.”
I finally had to turn my phone off at midnight.
Tyler was out of control—I had to stop him from taking my daughter…
Before I could even react, he snatched Madelyne out of my arms and put her in the back of his car. She started to hyperventilate.
“What are you doing?” I screamed.
Tyler ignored me as he tried to strap her in the car seat.
“Tyler! She’s terrified! You can’t do this! Let’s take her to a park or something. She has to calm down before she can go with you!” Was he crazy? How could he do this to his own child?
I squeezed in between him and the doorframe of the car door. “Tyler! Stop!”
“Don’t touch my car!” Tyler screeched as he tried to slam the door shut. I had my leg in between the door and the frame so he couldn’t close the door. I tried reaching Madelyne who was still wailing and howling. It was a horrific sound. All of a sudden, Tyler put me in a chokehold and dragged me from the car. I could see my dad out of the corner of my eye trying to get someone’s, anyone’s, attention.
“Help!” I screamed. “Help me!” But we were parked too far away from the actual police station and since it was Sunday, no one was around. “Someone help me. Please!”
Tyler tightened his arm around my throat. I couldn’t breathe. Oh my God, I thought. He’s going to kill me. Tyler was completely out of control. I knew if I didn’t do something soon, I was going to blackout.