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These last 8 months trying to rebuild my life again have been extremely trying mostly because I don’t have my babies anymore. Molly, my brown tabby, had been with me for 17 years. She had the biggest green eyes I had ever seen on a cat. While I knew that I would not have her for the rest of my life, I just never really imagined my life without her. We essentially grew up together. I vividly remember the day I adopted her. It was getting close to my 21st birthday and I was longing for a pet again. I was living in Colorado at the time in my second year of college. It was a normal window shopping day at the mall and walked by a pet store. I can’t ever walk by a pet store without going in to see the animals…and there she was sitting so tall and calm with her beautiful blue eyes. Yes, they were originally blue and turned green as she got older. I just melted when I saw those beautiful blue eyes! She was the first pet I had that lived inside. Growing up we weren’t allowed to have pets inside the house.

Molly was the only furry child in the house for 14 years. Until Lilly came home. It was a typical day at wk until one of my co-workers came by my desk to ask me if I had seen the little black kitten someone found in their motor. She knew I loved animals so there we went off to see the tiny kitten. She wasn’t more than 6 weeks old. She had a burn over one of her eyes from being stuck in the motor. As we were googling over the kitten, I over heard the people that found her saying that the pound was coming to pick her up. “Oh noooo!” I said. And that was the day Molly became a big sister. I thought for a moment, a brief moment, that I would call her Scarface, thinking she was going to have a scar from the burn, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. So Lilly she was named. She had the thickest and shiniest black coat that made her body look bigger than normal. She was a talkative one too and knew exactly where the treats were stored. She would go sit by the pantry door just a meowing away until she got her treats.

I had always been a cat person and just never imagined myself with a dog until one day I received an email from a co-worker that while out for a family walk, they found this black Lab and the very next day had puppies. She was looking for good homes for the pups and yes the sucker that I am went and adopted one. I named him Sam. Until I brought him home he was called Sergeant since he was always the first to figure everything out and the rest of the pups would follow. He had a beautiful reddish/golden coat. I believe he was a mix with either Chow and/or Golden Retriever. He was very energetic and always had his tongue hanging out. Although I only had 2 years with Sam, I wouldn’t trade them for the anything. Because of him, I am now a dog lover too!

My “furry family” was the light of my life, my inspiration for living. Despite the fact that I lost my house, car, personal belongings…losing them was and still is the hardest part. They too are a big part of my mission to increase awareness of domestic violence because when your family pets are hit, kicked, thrown and killed, this too is part of the domestic abuse! So when I’m feeling frustrated that I’ve hit a roadblock, I take a deep breath and remember not only my pets, but also all the women and men that have thanked me over the last two months for standing up without fear and facing this battle head on! My inspiration for living and fighting for an end to domestic violence continues for all those suffering from domestic violence, including family pets!


I had dinner with a dear friend yesterday. With busy schedules and trying to obtain a work-life balance unfortunately, it had been a few months since we last chatted. So much had happened since then. Every day has been another day of strength I add to my survival story.

This has definitely been a year where I have been forced to re-evaluate many aspects of my life including my support system. Mainly because people just don’t understand.  As it was, I barely had enough emotional strength for myself. Looking out for “me” was something I was not accustomed to do. So as to not put anyone, even myself, in an uncomfortable situation, I only reached out to people that I knew were not afraid to “just listen” and “not judge” when they didn’t know what to say instead of saying something just to try and sound supportive for it to then come out the wrong way. I don’t hold it against them, rather the lack of awareness of domestic violence.

One of the biggest frustrations is that I want to begin my life as a survivor and leave behind my life as a victim!  How I long to leave behind all the issues with my health,  insurance, city, utility companies, etc and start living a normal life…whatever that may be. I figure as long as it doesn’t resemble the last 20 years of my life I think is a very good start. Finally being able to go back to work will be a huge step. Sleep, or lack thereof, has been the main problem here these last few months. It’s really hard to function in a normal work schedule without any restful sleep. It’s a vicious cycle…no sleep causes a slew of other health issues too. Needless to say, my doctors have been focusing on correcting my sleep problem in hopes of all the other issues naturally correcting themselves. Meantime, to have some sort of normalcy and establish a routinely full day of work, I decided to set up a charity. This has been the best decision I have made in the last 20 years. I finally feel like my life has meaning and that I am making a positive impact in the lives of others.

As I proceeded to talk about where I am in my life with my health, charity, and aspirations, my friend commended me on my courage and tenacity in trying to make something good of the tragedies of my life. “Do you talk about everything or just that one night?” asked my friend. “Well, everything,” I said. Then the question came with a worried look, “Don’t you feel exposed?” I was completely taken back. Here is a person who is also a survivor and with a very prestigious career, someone from whom I would never expect this question. I paused for a few seconds to get over the shock, then asked, “Do you mean am I afraid to be judged?” This is the main reason why I started this charity to help increase awareness. Ignorance or denial, are the main reasons people pass judgment.  Either they have not experienced anything traumatic in their lives and cannot empathize, or they fear admitting there is trouble in their life. I stopped worrying about what other people think of me especially when they don’t know me. If someone decides to pass judgment without taking the time to get to know me, then I don’t need to worry about it.

Domestic violence is an area that needs so much attention, but yet only few are willing to “expose” themselves in order to take positive steps in preventing domestic violence rather than continuing to react to it. It really happens more often than we think,  just not all are open about it. Something I do understand, by all means, this has been a huge part of my life. I know what it is like to be embarrassed to admit there is trouble in paradise. After all, who wants to admit that the man you love tackles you to the ground and chokes you or holds a two-barrel shotgun just inches from your face. Yes, more than once, I have faced death and survived. So do I feel exposed or am I afraid to be judged? There is no longer any fear in standing up for what I believe in and that is freedom from domestic violence! If sharing my miracle is what I have to do in order to save the life of just ONE other person…then I will do nothing else but to spend the rest of my life “Living To Share”.