A Survivor's Story: A Resident
A letter written by a CFVC Hearthstone Landing Resident:
My three years here at Hearthstone have been a part of a life changing experience both for myself and my kids. I have so much to say and find myself so emotional that it is best to share my feeling each of you in writing. Please bear with me as I may blunder, but I hope to express past accomplishments and future goals in the best way I know how.
When I arrived here in September 2006 I was afraid, hopeful, overwhelmed and, for the first time in years—free. I had spent over five years in an abusive relationship and the constant barrage of ridicule and subjection had left me with no confidence and no idea how to survive without chaos. Although I did all I could possibly do to shield my babies from the same agonies I endured, I finally realized by removing them from the situation was the only hope I had to break the cycle. The first few weeks here were hard because I could not and would not accept that my life was no longer about despair but hope. And, quite honestly, when hope and optimism are suddenly handed to you, like a gift you never realized you wanted, it is terrifying. Planning for a future, any future was beyond me because all of my adult life to that time had been about survival, from one day to the next.
Through my classes and the friends I made, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, to my surprise, the light was not at the front of a train running head long at me. It was a light of hope, promise, love and freedom.
Of course, that isn’t to say that I became immediately transformed. I still felt like I didn’t deserve the gift being offered to me. I could not imagine that someone saw in me potential and value. I could not see it in myself. But, over time, I did find my strength, my inner drive to do more. My time with my case manager was invaluable. She gave me praise, constructive advice, and helped me set my personal goals.
I took on each issue one by one, and by the end of the first year, I had accomplished more than I had in the last five years of my life. I mended healthy relationships and eliminated toxic ones. I began restoring my credit, one issue at a time. I was able to buy a car, find a job, enroll my kids in daycare and pre-school, continue my education, and most importantly to me, start to enjoy my life with my children.
For the first time in my life I realized that did not need a man; I didn’t need another person to make me whole. I just needed to find the best part of myself and use that to make my life with my kids happy.
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