Her own words put it better than I ever could, they shine off of the page and screen with the power of faith, hope and love. Get a box of tissues.
I was going to comment on your blog but I have a story to tell and was afraid I would get windy and felt this might be better. Actually it’s two stories. Mine, and the story of the Bravest, Strongest Girl I know, who happens to be my precious oldest daughter.
If it does, indeed get windy I understand that you’re a super busy woman and I really do tend to babble…so you are hereby released from any OHCRAPISHOULDRESPONDTOTHATKATIECHICK guilt. Deal?
Cierra is my beautiful, very nearly 18 year old daughter. She is quick to smile, loves to read classics, has a wickedly dry sense of humor and a heart that wants to hear everyone’s story and then hug them and tell them they’re wonderful. One year ago she wanted to die.
She tried. Several times. You can’t imagine what it’s like as a Mommy to type those words. Cierra began to believe the lies that she wasn’t the precious, unique, gorgeous gift to the world that everyone who ever met her knew that she is.
But here’s where it gets good. Last summer, on Cierra’s seventeenth birthday, she squared her shoulders, held her head high and smiled through her tears as she hugged me goodbye and walked through a door to healing at a residential facility where she has been for the last eight and a half months.
She has worked so hard and fought for her life and today when Cierra smiles there is a light in her eyes that comes from a joy that starts in her toes and works its way up.
She sacrificed so much this year. She missed her senior year of high school, has been away from all of her friends, seen her 4 younger siblings not nearly as often as she’d like…but she’s whole again. Heidi, I can’t tell you how proud I am of that young woman.
While Cierra’s been away my world sort of fell apart in other ways. Still recovering from an ugly divorce after 18 years I’ve got these other four Wee Beasties at home that I’m raising and they are just the coolest kids. Truly. They make me look good. But about a year ago I began passing out. I’d be at the grocery store or a restaurant or getting a Slurpee at 7-11 and Bam, just like that-I’d be on the floor.
I’d wake up with awful head pain, nausea, vomiting (THAT”S fun in the middle of the mall). The working diagnosis is Basiar Artery Migraine. The docs here in Michigan haven’t found an effective treatment yet and I still faint often and never go anywhere alone, can’t work or drive or do a lot of things I love doing as a Mom.
BUT…the kiddos and I have adjusted…we play a lot of board games and go through a lot of coloring books and even though they’re all great readers they love to have me read out loud to them. I’m headed to a specialty clinic in Wisconsin next month in hopes of finding more answers and getting my life back on track.
Last Fall, before the episodes became really frequent something happened that was awful, but has also fueled a passion in me for an outreach that I hope you’re not too bored yet to read about. If you’ve made it this far into the email, well, wow…take a break and have some iced tea or something. I promise I’ll try to be brief (er).
I hadn’t dated since the divorce and met someone who said all the right things and seemed smart and funny and kind and was hiding a monster. It was my first date in 20 years and this bastard not only drugged me and raped me, he called someone else who met him at my home and this second man raped me as well.
By the next morning when it was over I wasn’t going to tell anyone about it. I decided I would just pretend it never happened and it would just go away. But I started shaking and couldn’t stop and my sweet friend S called to invite me to lunch and heard my voice and just started driving to my house.
She and her husband walked with me through the next hours at the hospital and with the police. They went with me to meet the crime scene tech at my house and were with me for every meeting with the detective. The case is still pending and it’s still horrible but I feel stronger because I took steps to prosecute.
HERE’S WHERE IT GETS GOOD: (begin 2nd email)
So I hit send accidentally and I think that was God telling me to just Wrap it up already. Ok. I’ll try bullet points:
*The crime lab guy took all my new bedding, which I had really felt guilty about splurging on
*He fingerprinted some items in my living room and the powder fell all over the rug. They use blue powder and I could not, for the life of me get the stain out of the carpet.
*Every time I looked at the carpet or my bed I felt like I was being retraumatized and it was hard for me to go in my bedroom or the living room
*My wonderful friend B was in town about a week later and saw the carpet and I told her about the bedding and after she went back home to Texas she sent me a package with the most gorgeous new bedding. I could sleep in my own bed again.
* That “little thing” was something I would not have spent more money on when I’ve got 5 kids and haven’t been able to work because of my health…but it was instrumental in helping me heal
*At the hospital they gave me a package of counseling referrals and support groups and I began to think:
There ought to be a service that will meet with a woman who’s been abused who can go in and say, “Blood on the carpet? No problem. We’ll replace that carpet. Blood stains on the walls? What color do you want us to repaint?”
There is NO REASON a woman should be retraumatized every time she walks into a room where abuse has taken place when it would be so easy for somebody else to create for her a safe, soothing, peaceful place for her to heal.
This idea gave birth to Haven Restored. Which is my vision for giving women back their homes. There are businesses and churches here who are ready to partner with me and I get so excited thinking about it. I would never have know this sort of need existed had I not been a victim in my home.
And I had a talk with God and I told Him that if I had to go through that rape in order to help other women in this area heal from their trauma, well, I’m ok with that. So I have to get healthy so I can get working on Haven Restored.
Still with me? All this is to say that Cierra and I have been through some stuff this year. And we were talking about it this weekend and we would SO love a Mom-Daughter Red Dress Photo Shoot. We have a talented photographer friend who’s on board…C and I are a team, Heidi and this would just mean the world to us. We both feel that one day we’ll be telling our story to lots and lots of people. We don’t know what will look like, but we’d like to start with a couple of red dresses. Thanks for being patient.
With love and Thanks, Katie
Katie, you are spectacular. Two red dresses coming your way!
And y’all know of course this is the movement begun by our favorite, Jenny Lawson at www.TheBloggess.com