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  • For years my wounds were many and the scars were soul deep but it seems my scars hold the wisdom gained from every painful experience. They enhance beauty and show the courage of spirit. They remind me I am strong. I was told never to quit before my miracle. Who knew that my scars would be that miracle? Not only did they give me second sight that allows me to see aging as a wondrous gift, but I wake each day in my mid sixties with the anticipation and curiosity of a child.

    One of the hardest times I remember was in my twenties. My husband was in residential treatment for his Bipolar. My children were 2 and 4 and without his salary and no savings we hit a bottom. There was a major Nor’easter in Connecticut that all but shut the state down. Roads were closed and the power was out. My son had a fever of 102 and the temperature inside was hovering only about 10 degrees above freezing. There was a fireplace in the finished basement but no firewood. Late one evening I heard a truck in the driveway. An anonymous friend had sent a load of firewood and kindling and it was being stacked just outside the basement entrance. It was the equivalent of a blood transfusion to someone who is bleeding out.

    I moved us into the basement with all the blankets and necessities I could find. When I went outside to get some wood for a fire, I realized the logs hadn’t been split. At 6’ and 150 lbs I wasn’t a weakling but I wasn’t Paul Bunyan either. Necessity is a miracle motivator so I found my husband’s axe and at midnight in a driving snowstorm I started swinging. (That winter would be the healthiest of my life.) I cut enough to keep a fire going through the night but by now the kids were hungry, scared and tired. They didn’t want to play campground any more and neither did I.

    I went upstairs to scour the kitchen cabinets for something I could heat in the fireplace only to remember there was little or no money for grocery shopping and the cupboards were bare. I remembered an old depression story my parents used to tell. They would put ketchup into water, heat it and have weak tomato soup. I had ketchup, the pipes hand’t frozen yet so I had water and a makeshift stove and camper pot for the fireplace. For once, I was glad I listened to that “boring” story repeated every snowstorm of my child hood. With the light of day and still without power, I found some eggs and butter, some bacon and some lunch meat. We wouldn’t starve. With the last of the ice from the freezer in a cooler and baby aspirin, I was able to bring Jason’s fever down to manageable. Years later, the Pediatrician would tell me that probably strengthened his immune system!

    My anonymous benefactor kept me in firewood and necessities during the week the storm raged on. When I say I owe our lives to whoever it was, it’s not an overstatement. I had no friends and family that could help and without money, heat and staples I’m not sure where we would have gone and I’m not sure if Jason would have survived that fever without some serious complications. I was angry about being left to handle everything alone. I was angry at a family that refused help. I was exhausted. I was hurt, sad, confused. What I wasn’t was cold or hungry. What my son wasn’t was deathly ill. We were a family. I was someone my kids could count on. I was someone I could count on. I was more than I ever knew I was. I was too young to hold on to that confidence in the face of abuse but it was there, scarred over, just hidden waiting for me to get that second sight.
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