Since I started this blog, most people have been very supportive. I have received a few snarky comments about what qualifies me to speak about the things I do. I do not have any formal training beyond a high school diploma. I am not a psychiatrist or a preacher. So what gives me the right to write like I do?
Most people who know me, in the real world, know most of my story, but few people know all of it. I have had a blessed life. I have seen my share of hard times. Normally, I don’t roll out my scars for everyone to see, but I want you guys to know that I am not writing this blog by cutting out cliches and pasting them on the internet. I have been in hard places. I know dark corners. When I tell you “You can make it”, I mean it! I know. So here are the highlights of my low points so you understand where I’m coming from.
I was born and raised in Montana. It is a beautiful state with one of the highest suicide rates and lowest wage rates in the country. My parents loved me very much, but they had issues. Mom was Dad’s third marriage. Mom had been divorced as well. My dad had 6 kids before me. The youngest was about 12 when I was born. The 2 youngest boys from his previous marriage lived with us, then my little brother was born. So my mom was was raising two teen stepsons and two toddlers, will my dad was gone for weeks at a time on road jobs, or stuck at home because the snow closed construction down. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was very co-dependent.
My dad’s oldest three kids where way gone by the time I came on the scene. I only met them a handful of times. I knew the other three pretty well, even though they were much older. I became an Auntie at a month old. Them again at three, and seven and eleven, twice. However by the time, I reached about 13, my older sibs had four divorces between them, and I was cut out of most of my nieces and nephews lives.
My parents sold a house on contract for deed, so we could buy my dad’s dream place. He had so many plans for it. After a year, the people trashed our old house and gave it back. We had to sell the dream, and move back to the old house, with too many bills and no dreams left. My dad spent a year in Alaska, trying to make enough money to get us out of debt. We stayed here, and tried not to spend anything. My mom started trying to get healthier, and learn to get past co-dependent behaviors. When my dad came back, my parents got divorced.
Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. Around puberty, one grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the other with lung cancer, which metastasized in her brain. We saw one grandma with a perfectly intact body and her mind fading away. The other was sharp as a tack and fighting against a body that was quitting on her. She fought through chemo and radiation. They died about a year apart.
Through high school, I got decent grades, but never participated in school activities because we couldn’t afford them. I met my husband at the end of my senior year. We knew each other for 6 months when we got married. The day after the ceremony I moved to Nebraska, his home state, which I had been to once, to meet his parents. He was an over the road truck driver at the time.
My dad remarried, my mom lost the old house and my brother graduated from high school and was almost grown up. Most of my older siblings are remarried, and some re-divorced. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoidosis, a lung disease there is no cure and no treatment for. The Dr. gave her two years.
Over the next five years, he drove and I navigated through 46 of the 48 lower states. We missed a couple in the New England area. We would be in the truck together for 3 weeks on, get home for 2 days and be gone for another 3 weeks. When we decided to have kids, our house was not big enough and he didn’t want to be gone all the time, so we decided to sell our house there. We moved back to Montana, since we were moving and changing jobs. He worked local for a while, but we weren’t making ends meet, so he went over the road alone. We bought our house here and had our second kiddo. He was gone 7-10 days, home 2, then gone… for about 3 years.
My little brother got married, had a good job and was expecting his first child when he was killed in a wreck at work in 2002. Our family was shattered. My kids were 2 and 4, when their favorite Uncle vanished. Their new cousin arrived a week after the funeral. My mom quit eating and couldn’t sleep. My dad was devastated. My brother had bought a house between my parents, three and a half miles to each, so he could be around to help them in their old age. Then…gone. He didn’t die instantly, but he died before the ambulance arrived.
My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He fought through treatment ounce. It came back in his prostate and bones. He was in a lot of pain and lingered for a long time. He made it past his next birthday, and died at home in 2009.
My mom’s was a fighter and she lived with stage 4 sarcoidosis for over 10 years. But between the sarcoidosis, enlarged heart and kidney failure, she died in 2012, on Good Friday, at 67. I took her to all her appointments, helped her write her obit, and sat with her as she died. I had to clean out her out house and sell it.
In a ten year period, I buried my little brother, my dad and my mom, while raising two kids, and helping keep our trucks running. I have been broken into tiny pieces, and the grace of God is the only thing that held me together. There were times I had to decide to breathe. I felt like if I didn’t tell myself to inhale, I wouldn’t. The weight in my chest was so overwhelming. If someone had told me this was my path, I would have told them I will never make it through that. But God sustained me, every step.
My life is not the worst. I know people who had worse childhoods than me. I know people who have had many hardships. That’s why I write. So you know there is hope. God is real, and He loves YOU!!
I use scriptures in my writing a lot. I talk about God a lot. God is not a concept to me. God is the only one who has been there with me through every horror, every sadness, every trial. God is the only one…so yes I talk about Him. I share scriptures that have helped me. I know them because they are the words that sustain me.
My husband and I have been married for over 20 years. My kids are now wonderful teenagers. We live in an amazing place, and own our own business. I am blessed mightily. One of my favorite quotes comes from Riddick… “not many have lived to tell about it. So if I choose to speak of it…you should choose to listen.”
I don’t pretend to know everything, but I know the goodness of God, and I will speak of it to anyone who will listen.