It all started when I was 5, My "mom" left my dad and my 4 siblings to pursue her dreams. My childhood was filled with abuse. Both mental and physical. My outlet to "runaway" became my obsession with books. I could escape into them and their story and for a moment believe whatever I wanted. My dad re-married a few years later, bring the number of my siblings to 11. She while kind, was manipulative and understandingly abusive in her own way as she did nothing to stop the abuse from my dad. This obsession with reading stayed with me. I was told at 12 I was too stupid to go to school and sent to work instead to help provide for the family. I was devastated. Being told in 6th grade that you aren't good for anything is something that is so difficult to comprehend. I married at 17 and had my first born at 18. He was my everything. The unthinkable happened In 2000. I received a call telling me to get to my parents ASAP and when I got there I knew. As soon as I saw my sisters face I knew something had happened. Little did I know that it was my best friend, my brother was killed in a accident just a few short hours earlier. He was my age and we both shared a passion for reading and music. He'd been there in my life since I was 7, sharing stories, hiding from our parents when necessary and we shared the same job but were too poor to have more than one set of shoes. So when I went on shift or he did we would trade. I truly thought that in that moment, it was the worst my life could get.. how naive and ignorant I was then.
2 years later we welcomed another son, Alan, and life was getting better as I was still struggling to cope with losing my brother. And life as it does, threw me another wicked curve and I was to learn yet another lesson. I relive in my night terrors that time of my life every night. My baby, my son was 5 months old, healthy and such a sweetie. I was seeing my "mom" for the 2nd time and drove from Michigan to Kansas (where I am from) and had only been there for one day. We all went to bed and memory is still as clear to me as your reflection in a mirror. We, my son and I were in bed on the floor and I woke up in a panic. I turned to my angel thinking he was awake and needed me only to feel something was very, very wrong. I reached across him to turn the light on and my hand ever so slightly brushed against his little face. And it was cold. I was told later that I was screaming but that I do not remember. I know I yelled for someone to dial 911 and preformed CPR until EMS got there and was sitting in the ER watching them try and revive him only to hear the doctor call time of death. I do remember screaming at them and pleading for them to not give up. But he was gone. They let me hold him one last time and as I looked through the tears coursing down my cheeks I sag him his lullaby. They came to take him away and I couldn't let go, How as a parent do you even do that? I flew home and was met with silence and strange looks. Suffice it to say when I got home in general everyone believed I killed him. I was still reeling in shock and couldn't fathom it. He officially died from SIDS. At that time not much was known about it hence the accusations. We went on to have 2 more babies. A boy and a girl. But I was so messed up. I read every book I could get my hands on, played the piano for hours on end and slowly but surely began the descent down the rabbit hole to a darkness I didn't know existed. I began to self destruct, and no one cared. I read every chance I got. I was working 3 jobs so on break or what have you I had a book in my hands. It was after i tried suicide on multiple occasions that I realized I was dying for who I lost, instead of living for who I had. I've read thousands of books, and am still going. I've faced and beaten skin cancer twice, I'm diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos and severe onset of arthritis and MS. Every day I lose part of what i could do, and everyday i challenge myself to find something I can do. Both my boys are diagnosed with Autism and they fight for every inch they get, as a mom it breaks my heart but at the same time I am SO proud of them
. My daughters passion for books does for her what it does for me, it gives her and I a place to sit and immerse ourselves in a world and enjoy the ride. Life is tough, and unfair. But in the end what we survive through makes us stronger and molds us into who we are today if you let it. Love and be loved for you deserve it, you need it. And find a good book with a place to read and lose yourself in it and enjoy the places it takes you. I am a survivor and I don't hide from my past. I know doing so leads me to the rabbit hole. So when I'm melancholy or depressed I ask for a time out and go read a couple of books and lifts me back to a good place. Never underestimate what it can do, I know I don't. So thank you JD for helping me stay in a good place and sharing with all of us your passion. You have saved me in more ways then one on many occasion. And the ride? Absolutely worth it.