They sat quietly in their small motel room rolling their own cigarettes to save money. Everything they own was inside the small 12 X 17 foot room that was coated in a smoke filled purple. Lamps lit the space occupied by the couple and their small dog.
Daniel told me the most painful thing he grew up with was his adopted father calling him retarded time and time again due to his learning disability. He said that his step father, who is actually his uncle that adopted him at age two, told him that he would amount to nothing.
Cassie said the most painful memory she has was that her father would tell her that she should not love her mother. Of course, she lived with her mother and three siblings. It was her mother that raised her, fought for her and held down a job while living in a motel so that Cassie and the others would have a place to sleep.
Once you are down, it is hard to get back up. Cassie explained that not too many months back, she had to stay at the motel where her mother lives for two weeks while her mom was hospitalized. She stayed in her mother’s room to look after her two younger siblings that had to be in school each day while her mother clung to life with her kidneys and even heart slowly shutting down.
Like Cassie, her mother is a fighter. She survived. But, it is one thing after another when you are at the bottom. A $20 bill can feel like a $4,000 bill. A $600 motel room is likely equivalent to a $5,000 house payment when you can barely afford food. Help for depression, it is almost nonexistent, as explained by Cassie while sitting in her dimly lit room.
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"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." - Vince Lombardi