Life can be full of twists and turns, ups and downs. Sometimes, it seems as if many of us experience more downs than ups.
Jill told me, “I became a drug addict at 14, a meth addict. I got clean when I was 21.” She then jumped to the subject of her mother and talked about how the two of them were best friends while she was clean and sober. The mood then turned somber, “I moved to the state of Washington and my mom got breast cancer – got really sick and then she died about three and a half years ago. And then my life became (pause)… hard.”
The death of Jill’s mother was terribly painful for her as they had built a great relationship while she was clean and off the street. She talked to me about how she turned to alcohol to cope with the loss of her mother.
She continued to talk about the aftermath, “I became an alcoholic and then I got clean. I went into a clean and sober house – I lived there for two years and then things didn’t work out there - I got kicked out. I ended up with some men who sexually abused me and because I told, they put my life on the line so I came out to Tennessee to start a new life with my brother and his family, unfortunately he passed away about a week ago (8/10/16).”
I read her brothers obituary on Friday (8/19/16). His name was Wade and he died at the young age of 49. The obituary from Woodfin Chapel in Smyrna, TN stated, “He was a devoted family man who never met a stranger. Friendly and outgoing, he was liked by all who knew him.” This is her second brother to pass away at an early age. Not to mention the fact that her sister has breast cancer and she is battling the after math of chemo at this time in Washington State.
For so many it is one tragedy after another as they struggle through this thing called life. Jill is in her early thirties, so life can still turn around for her and be great, but there will be a mountain to climb.
The next plan for Jill is to find a way to get back to Washington State and enroll in a yearlong program to help her continue to stay sober and clean. The program will also address her adult sexual assault and help with childhood sexual drama as well.
While living in a shelter in Murfreesboro, she has tried her hardest to hold down a job. One of those jobs was in Smyrna, but the costs of taxi money quickly lead to her losing the employment. In other words, she was working for enough money to simply afford transportation to and from work. She was then hired as a painter, but quickly fired when the head painter realized she did not have her own brushes or rollers.
Today, she is out of work and continuing to live in an overcrowded shelter. However, she still has that goal of making it back to Washington State where her sister lives and where a yearlong program awaits her arrival. But, the wait will continue as she is finding it impossible to make money, live and save enough for a single bus or plane ticket.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist (1926-2004)
The struggle continues.