My story begins back in 1973 when I was just 12 years old. I had accepted Christ as my savior in April of that year. About two weeks later in May, I was at school in the seventh grade, just an average student.
On Friday, May 12, I was climbing a set of bleachers that had a rotted out step. My arms were loaded with books, and as I climbed those bleachers my foot slipped causing me to fall, hitting my right side so hard that I lost my breath. Upon going to the school nurse it was decided that I go home, however, I had to walk 12 blocks because no family car was available. My mother met me halfway. A doctor was consulted, and he thought it was broken ribs. Later that weekend I became very ill.
On Monday I began passing out. My father took me to the ER where they did some testing and thought I had a hole in my liver. I was rushed into surgery where they discovered my liver was torn in half. The doctor operating on me had Lou Gehrig’s disease and it was progressing pretty rapidly, but that man saved my life with the help of God above. Usually, a person in my condition would not be alive. I spent a month in the hospital recovering. It took about two years to become fully healed.
This was the beginning of my spiritual journey.
Fast forward to the year 2018. In February of this year, I celebrated 34 years of marriage and two days.
It was two days later that I found my husband forever asleep in his car in our garage. He had suffered from what is known as pilot anxiety and depression. He suffered depression for about three years before this incident.
My world and that of my children was turned upside down. I decided it was time to sell the house that we lived in for 20 years because of the depression that he had and also because the steps were too hard for me to handle. I sold it in March. I purchased a condo in May and moved into it.
While attending my 40th class reunion in Iowa, I received a phone call from a friend informing me that the condo had been struck by lightning and was on fire. This was on July 1. I had only lived there for 6 weeks. The fire burned the whole roof line of the condo, which needed a complete gut job. I am currently awaiting it to be repaired. I’m hoping to be back in by Christmas. It was very devastating to lose my new home specially after losing my husband just a few months before that. I seriously felt like Job in the Bible. I’ve learned though that God has been with me every step of the way. He has met all my needs and gives me comfort when I’m feeling at my lowest point.
In September of this year, I welcomed my first grandson and that been a bright spot in a bleak year. It is my faith in God which gets me through my every waking moment.
The days after the fire occurred, I was pretty inconsolable and just felt like I was losing Keith all over again. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. Somehow I knew that God would get me through it I just wasn’t sure how.
It was hard watching them go through my personal belongings as the cleanup began on the condo. I just came to realize that it was just stuff and that my true memories were in my heart and would always be there.
Throughout this last year, I came to realize that God would always be with me, that he’s always taking care of me even in the times I didn’t realize it. The fire was a true learning experience with a lot of frustration but a lot of joy, too.
Just as the condo was rebuilt so has my life. I want to be the voice of depression and the stigma that goes with it, because often the person suffering it doesn’t know how to voice it. It is my desire to continue working to bring awareness that depression is a disease just like cancer, arthritis, or even diabetes.
Depression knows no boundaries, no race, or class is immune, age or gender. it does not discriminate.
Maybe my having survived the torn liver was so that one day I can be that voice or advocate for the silent voice of depression.