Life events that changed you as a person?

moonie_57December 27, 2008

In 1999 DH and I had been married for 21 years. Though financially we had some rough years in the beginning, I had an easy going personality, not a worry in the world. Yes, I was an emotional person, but if upset would be over it in no time at all. In a 2 week period that all changed. DH lost his job of 14 years, my oldest son was arrested and my 16 y/o son and his 15 y/o gf told me they were pregnant. This began my slip into a world full of insecurities and helplessness.

DH went through a couple of years with several jobs before he got the job he now works at. My son was found guilty and put on probation. Several years later he went through a year of crack addiction. My other son had a beautiful little boy but his relationship with the mother only lasted for 2 years and now he has another child by another girl. They have been together 6 years now and I guess are happy.

2004 was spent keeping my dad comfortable until his death that July. I have always been a daddy's girl and his illness and death devastated me. Even now I can't believe he is gone from my physical life and can't provide much needed advice or even just a hug. He was the light of my life, my sounding board, the fixer of all broken things and a 1st class dog/babysitter.

2008 has been a tough year.... filing disciplinary papers against DD, forcing counseling and medical. The fighting and arguing, the emotional drama and fear for her future and wellbeing. Cops, probation officers and social service workers. Psychiatrist and therapist. And only a

little progress.

But through it all, I have become a tougher person. Dealt with issues that I thought I would never be able to handle. I still maintain a soft heart but act more with my head now. Truly, I believe there are some depression issues that I need to deal with but right now I need to put DD first. If I could get her on the right track I think I would be an awesome person... soft-hearted but tough as nails!

Yeah, that's me... tough as nails... almost! :)

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I appreciate your honestly in your post, Moonie. So many are so afraid to reveal the hurts and disappointments in their lives. I think we all have many, especially after living 50 years or more.
I guess my most life changing event was when we lost my 19 year old daughter in 1998. Our litte family of four was happy and secure until then. I guess the tradgedy didn't really change my life, but made me even more aware than ever of what is really important in life. Luckily, I was never materialistic and always appreciated my family, but I became very disinterested in trivial things after Christin was killed.
After we lost Christin in April of 1998, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in January of 1999. I helped my dad with the caregiving until she died suddenly right before my eyes in June of 2004. My dad was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2007, and now I am watching him decline each day.
Life is hard and full of surprises, both good and bad, but I think the human spirit is strong. We may not think we can handle certain things, but we can and we do.

Here is a link that might be useful: Christin Cosby Memorial Website

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 12:24AM
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I also just lost my only niece on my side of the family this past July 2008. She was only 35 and my sister's only daugher.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 12:26AM
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Jan 22 2005 MIL died.
Jan 13 2006 DD17 got drunk,crashed her car, luckily not injured but was arrested and began DWI court process, including alcohol rehab, she is still on probation and cannot drive (per court decision) until she's 21. Today she's got a part time job and goes to local community college, gets around with rides from me,DH, her sister or a close girlfriend.
Jan 13 2007 DH had a bad reaction to medication he was taking for MS, ended up in hospital for five days.
Jan 13 2008 DH fell while walking , injured his elbow which became infected and landed him in hospital for three days.
I wonder what January 2009 will bring? I dread January.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 5:49AM
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December 2001 - May 2002 were the hardest months of my life. My mother died suddenly and unexpectedly and then my marriage of 24 years ended fast (also unexpected) and then my two oldest girls moved out of the area and then I had to split custody of my "baby" (14-years-old) with the ex.

I didn't have any money, so I gave the ex the house. My bestest friends sided with my ex-husband (because I didn't tell them the reason for the divorce), so i lost them too. Of course, the in-laws all disappeared after the divorce (which was a pity, because I really liked them).

In short, in six months, every single feature about my life changed and the most important relationships in my life simply ended or changed dramatically.

Those were some of the hardest days of my life.

I'd like to say I'm stronger now, but sometimes I think I'm just more fearful. Stuff happens in the blink of an eye. One seeminly unimportant decision can alter the course of your life forever.

At 50 years old, I feel a little battered by life and I wish I didn't.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 6:33AM
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I lived quite contentedly for many years after years of my father's illness and his death when I was 18 but when my first son was diagnosed with cancer at 24 my world was shaken. He was good after treatment for 5yrs but then it returned with a vengeance and he died when he was 30 in 2005. Nothing has been the same since. I was a worrier but have learned that worrying changes nothing and although I don't take unnecessary risks and stay as healthy as I can for my remaining son and grandchildren I am not fearful any more. Earlier this year I travelled from my home in Australia to Scotland, London and Paris by myself for six weeks. Something I would never have dreamed of a few years ago - worrying the plane would crash, something would happen to the boys while I was away, I would be mugged etc. I learned a lot about myself in that time and know that I can do anything. How can I be less than brave after the courage both my sons showed during Glenn's illness? There is a freedom in having one half of myself in this life and the other half wherever my big boy is. I found the strength to leave my loveless marriage and move to the country away from friends and my old life and I don't let people walk all over me as I did before. I think I am a better, stronger person now but of course, I wish it did not have to be at such a cost. Beth

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 8:14AM
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Yes, of course, things have happened that have changed me, but probably for the best. I was a true innocent. I thought if you are good to people and you are nice and kind, nothing bad will ever happen to you.

The things that happened, I wouldn't want to go through again....I don't know that I could do it again...almost killed me the first go 'round, but I learned to be a stronger person, and most importantly, I learned to cut people out of my life who were just "hangers on" and had nothing positive to contribute. I don't ask a lot of friends, but don't bring me in, when your trouble bleeds over onto me and becomes my trouble. If you do that, you are going to be gone before I can say "don't".
I don't have time or energy to take on the world's problems
and I have learned that it is pointless to try.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 9:14AM
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Though most of us have hard times from time to time we all handle it differently. I almost lost my hubby to an auto accident the first years we were married. Then 2 years later we lost our second son. It was a very hard start to a marriage. Time went on and we bonded closer then one could ever imagine. Then 15 years ago I had cancer. Another bump in the road. Since then we have both lost our parents, my sister and his. This was so very hard and it was not easy to get through. I look at life so differently now. I take what God has given me and try to do the best I can. We have raised 3 kids and have had minor problems during the time and soon will have 7 grandkids. I really feel lucky we have had a pretty easy time of it. Could we have had drugs and such, we sure could have. I feel lucky that we did not have to deal with this type of thing. I also know we live in a different world now, too. I would not want to start over..

I read a small passage in a book one day and it said it all. It reads. "It is not what you do for your kids but what you teach them to do for themselves that makes them ready for the world."

Just remember there will be brighter days ahead. Some days it just seems like things will not end but they will. Love the person, hug them and tell them that you love them always.. I remember years ago when our son got into some trouble he and his Dad had a talk and his Dad told him he may not always like what he does but he will always love him. That does say it all. We are a very close loving family and I am very thankful for this..

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 11:36AM
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Several things have made me the person I am.

Growing up, our mother made us feel as if we were a burden to her. She was married 3 times and I didn't really "know" my real dad. I barely remember my little sister's dad. Before she married her 3rd husband, I can remember walking to the bar in our pajamas to ask her to come home, so we wouldn't be alone. And to this day, I truly hate (I know that is a strong feeling) my step dad. He was an extremely strict "father figure". We were raised as if we were in boot camp. Quarters were flipped on our was checked and had to be re-done if not to his didn't speak during dinner...he was verbally and physically abusive. Our mom stood by and let this happen. She never stepped in to protect us...ever. We were never encouraged to do better...we were supposed to know it. And boy, if you didn't, you better be prepared for the consequences. We were never given the option to continue our schooling. It was never brought up. We were never told we were loved. We were never hugged.

When my brother developed lung cancer and died, our mom really changed for the worse. Her life revolved around him and his death. My sisters and I were no longer a part of her life. She really never said a good word about us or to us. She became a more bitter person than she ever was. It was at a funeral for an aunt, that we decided to cut ties with her. She was so very mean to us...and when we said we were leaving because of the hateful things she said and did, she didn't try to stop us or apologize. And we never spoke to her again. She died and left a great deal of issues that two and a half years later, we are still dealing with. It is a shame that she has a sister that is exactly like her. I feel so badly for her daughters as they are going thru the same thing we did.

This made me a better parent. I have never raised my voice to my boys...ever. I have never raised a hand to my boys...ever. I tell them daily that they are loved. I apologize when I should. I always tell them they can have anything life has to offer and I will do whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals. I support them in whatever decisions they make and I am there to catch them when they fall. And if you hurt my boys, don't expect me to forgive you easily. There will be no issues for them to deal with when I pass. It will all be taken care of.

When my brother was first diagnosed, we were advised by the doctors that if we wanted to see him while he was still alive, we should do so. I live in Las Vegas, he lived in Nebraska. My ex didn't understand why I wanted to go. He accused me of having him dead and buried before he really was. It was like he was telling me that I would be giving him a death sentence if I were to go see him. I went anyway. When I came home, I didn't get a warm welcome. I wasn't spoken to for weeks. When Jerry died, my sister called me at 2 in the morning to tell me. My ex came into the living room where I was crying, wanting to know who was calling at that time of the night. I told him. He informed me that it could have waited until a decent hour. I was livid. How could he be so cold? He turned on his heel and went to bed. The next day, I left for the funeral. When I returned, I wasn't spoken to for months. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. I would no longer accept that I couldn't have friends. I would no longer accept that I was to live by HIS rules. (Had I married someone exactly like my step dad?) I decided life was too short to live that way, so I packed my vehicle with what would fit and left. He never asked why...he never asked me to come back...he never offered to try and work it out.

This taught me to treasure every moment with the people you love. To always be there for hug them and tell them it will be ok. It taught me that there was a man out in the world that would love me for me. Someone that had a good heart and would hold me when I needed held. It taught me to tell my boys that relationships are 50/50. They are not 20/80 or 45/55. Each person has to work as hard at the relationship as the other. That communication is the key to a great relationship. You have to be there for your mate. I also taught them that yes, your heart will get broken, but you will learn from it and you will go on to become a better person.

(Thank you for letting me do this. I previewed and previewed before I finally hit the submit button.)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 12:31PM
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Wow. Some very touching and inspiring stories here. Thank you for sharing. We are a product of our experiences.

My wife died of ovarian cancer when she was 42. I was left with 5 kids ages 15 to 3. All my family was 1500 miles away. There were days when I thought my head was going to explode just trying to keep all the details of my day to day life in order. I had 5 kids in 4 different schools. One in high school, one in middle school, 2 in elementary school and the youngest went to a Montessori school. I was working full time and had my own business also.
In the absence of family I developed some very close friends. After Marys' death I was surprised to see some of these "close" friends drift away. While at the same time there were casual acquaintences that stepped up and offered amazing support. That part of the whole experience was a real eye opener.
"When sorrow carves deeply into your soul it allows you to hold that much more joy."


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 12:48PM
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What does not destroy me, makes me stronger. Friedrich Nietzsche I have had several things happen to me in my life that totally changed me and the direction I was going in at the time.

Some of the major ones are these. Our house burned down when I was 5 and we had to start over from nothing in a completely new area. My dad was transferred from MA to IL when I was 10 and I had serious learning problems at the time. I had a couple of broken engagements until I married my current husband in 1977. I was laid off 3 days after closing on our first house, but we cut back and made it. I had several miscarriages and was going to a fertility clinic for a year before we had our one and only son, who later was diagnosed with Autism, OCD and several major physical problems. When he was 18 months old I had another miscarriage at the 4 month stage and had to go into the hospital with bleeding and complications. After that I couldn't have any more children. I lost my father the day he finally retired at 73 in a car accident, he had just overcome colon cancer. My mom has battled and overcame breast cancer (total mastectomy), colon cancer, skin cancer, broken hip and pelvic bone, plus broken neck in the same car accident as my dad. I took care of her through those times. DH has been diagnosed with skin cancer with repeated surgeries but it hasn't gotten any worse. He does check ups every 6 months. We both have other major health problems. Lately he is burnt out and wants to quit his job at 56. We only have one income because I gave up my career to take care of our son. It would have a major impact on our finances if he did. And he dropped that bomb the day before Christmas. I am trying to be supportive but I too am burned out with my 'job', but I don't have the option of quitting. It has added a lot of stress to a situation that was already stressful.

I guess the point I am trying to make is we all have major life changes, most of them not very nice. But if we can survive them one at a time and get past them and focus on the good things in life we can make it. That is what I learned from my 90 YO Mom. The really hard part is when you get several at once. Hopefully you will have someone that can help you get through those times.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 1:08PM
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Wow, what burdens some must carry. My heart goes out to all of you.

In 1978, married five years to my high school sweetheart, having the time of our lives, we had just put a For Sale sign in the front yard of our first home. We had just purchased a brand new home. I was giddy with happiness...and then the phone rang.

A relative called to tell me my mother was in the hospital, reason unknown. I flew home and went to the hospital to find her on life-support. Six days later she was dead of an aneurysm. She was 47.

My step-dad loved mom deeply, doted on her, wrote her love notes which I later found all over the house. We found him dead on the floor the day after mom died. They say he died of a broken heart. His daughter, a good friend of mine, called to tell me she was flying out for mom's funeral. When she stepped off the plane, I had to tell her that her dad was gone too.

I had to go to auction with the house and its contents, sell two cars, find homes for a dog and two cats and come to terms with the sudden death of two people dear to me. I was 25.

After that everything in my life was measured in "years before mom died" and "years after mom died". I can tell you the exact day and time the TV show Mork and Mindy debuted; September 7, 1978 at 8pm. That was the day my mom died. She would have loved the show. That's what a nut she was. :-)

Life went on, but I became acutely aware of how quickly life can go out. In 1987 I found out I was pregnant with our second child. All was well until month five. At 22 weeks I went into labor. After a short hospital stay I was ordered to total bed rest and sent home. I stayed in bed, on my left side, for three months with no privileges other than bathroom and a shower twice a week.

Our beautiful son was born a month early and, thankfully healthy. I on the other hand had been having odd neurological problems. When my son was 6 weeks old my DH took me to see a Neurologist. After several tests, I was told I had Huntington's Chorea, a fatal, degenerative disease that was like Parkinson and Alzheimers combined. I was told I would be dead within ten years but probably only productive or functional another five.

I went home shaken, suffering already from the effects of three months in bed and postpartum depression. I saw the Neurologist on a Friday, by Sunday I was so distraught my DH had to go find my OB/GYN on a soccer field to ask her what he should do. I was not suicidal but was certain I would die from grief.

Fast forward five years. My pain and symptoms remained but not gotten any worse. My Neurologist stood by his diagnosis. I was fortunate to be working for the company that was partly responsible for getting the Internet up and running so I had access to what was out there since the early 80s. After five years of research on my part, I self-diagnosed myself with Fibromyalgia (FMS). I then went to a new primary care doctor, told her all of my symptoms but not my diagnosis. I deduced that if she too diagnosed me with FMS, then I was not dieing of Huntington's and I'd learn to manage a chronic disease instead of a fatal disease. And after many tests, she too came to the conclusion I had FMS. She was a bit taken aback when I smiled and hugged her after the diagnosis. I went on to tell her how when put into perspective, FMS was nothing but a nuisance.

When I was a kid, my mother introduced me to the phrase, "And this too shall pass". This has gotten me through all of my difficult times.

I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I do know I will get through it and come out the other side a stronger person.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 2:10PM
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I find it hard to read these without a lump in my throat and close to tears.

(((Everyone at the KT)))

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 6:56PM
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Into every life a little rain must fall. Some of us had that rain early in life, and some had a flood.

My life experienced an abrupt change when I was 12 and my mother died of cancer. I was the middle girl, 3rd child of 4. We kept house for our father, taught ourselves to cook, clean and do the laundry and shopping all while keeping our grades up. Our parents had set a strong foundation of values, and so we all managed somehow. But I learned to be logical first and to control my emotions. I learned to rely on myself only, to do well, to juggle lots, and to strive to improve my situation through education. All of us did and have been successful. When our father died 8 years later, we were well on our way to being educated professionals and soon would be self sufficient financially if we weren't already. Those early lessons, the warmth of a home where our parents loved and cared for us, all worked together and programmed us to continue on the path where our parents had set us. I cannot tell you the number of times I consciously parented myself after figuring out or even remembering what mom would have suggested.

In life we eventually lose our parents--if they don't lose us first. Some have been more fortunate to have their parents well into their mature years and into their years of becoming parents themselves. My years of being a mother were without that wise advice my mother could have given me, but they were guided by the life I saw her live and the guidance she had provided me in the first 12 years of my life.

It is interesting to read all these stories to note that the life changing event we all have mentioned is the death of a spouse, child or parent. Birth, life and death.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 7:29PM
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My good cycling friend Art died of a heart attack shortly after retiring. He had so many plans.

I pretty much gave up on plans, and I just do it! You just never know, when your last day gets here.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 8:01PM
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Lost my best friend age 26 in a car accident,lost my dearest friend my dad at 55 years old suddenly!Took years to get over (if we ever do) that one.
Watched my only daughter go through a ten year marriage of abuse,physically and mentally...she remarried years later to an angel!Saw my husband of 45 years this year go through a very serious illness...these and mant more of lifes experiences have been difficult,but I believe I have come through them a better person,but one who treasures every day and never takes her loved ones for granted,as they may not be there tomorrow!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 9:33PM
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You are all my Hero's~~~~~

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 9:56PM
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I never thought of it as changing me, but it probably did. My husband died at the age of 47, leaving me with three daughters, 10, 12 and 14. Luckily, we lived next door to my parents and they were a lot of help. My father had five heart attacks before he passed away in his late 70s. My mother lived until age 96, although in a nursing home for a number of years with Alzheimer's disease.

I was glad I was working at the time my husband died or I would have felt very insecure finding a job when I hadn't worked for 16 years. Just the year before I had taken a job as an aide in a junior high school because I had the summers off when the girls were off school. After my husband died, a friend who was a lawyer called and offered me a job as his secretary was leaving, so I was fortunate there and worked for him for five years. Then I had a chance to get back into the law department of the international company I had worked for previous to my marriage and worked there for 17 years, until my retirement in 1993.

Two of my daughters went to college and one went to a local technical school. In my "old age" I first lived with my middle daughter for a few years and now live with my oldest daughter and her husband. I will be 80 in March.

On the day of what would have been our 50th wedding anniversary, my oldest daughter sent me a bouquet.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 10:07PM
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WOW! I am so glad that I "know" you KT friends. I admire the ways that you have withstood adversity. Nanny

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 2:39AM
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The event in my life was not as gut wrenching as the ones above, but it did change my outlook. I was a poor (no money) student working my way through college spending all my spare cash on school and could not enjoy any of the nicer things of life. It was scrape and skimp to get through, and I did not know from one moment to the next if I would have to bail our for a few years. I became a little envious of other class mates who were financially better supported. Mind you, I did not hate them, but felt sorry for myself.

Then, one day, at the begining of a thermodyamics course, the class awaited for our instructor to appear, and he did. He wheeled into the room (in a wheel chair) with a flourish, grabbed a piece of chalk on his way in and rushed to the front of the class. He stuck out that peice of chalk and with a flip of his hand went scooting across the room making a long mark across three black boards. At the end of the last board, he braked sharply, and pushed the chalk upward as high as he could reach. These lines became the axes of the charts he would draw during his lecture. This was the picture of an exuberant teacher anxious to impart knowledge to we students. He was the epitome of all instructor that I encountered. He led me down the path of a difficult subject and through his efforts, I got a tolorable good grade. We did notice that at times, he'd wince with maybe pain. But he forced himself to go on and never let his pain interfere with the class. Later, I learned that he was dying and he did die a few short years after this class. This made a big impression on me and gave me the inspiration to forge ahead with my class work. Although he knew that he had a fatal disease, he gave his very best to the class. This made my personal condition seem less important.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 3:53AM
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jemdandy, your story about your instructor brings to mind another story:

In college I had a botany and genetics instructor that was very aloof. Cold even. He was strictly business in the classroom. Would never crack a joke or even a smile. Then during a semester break he was struck by a motorist while riding his bicycle. It was a severe head injury, he lost the hearing in one ear and his sense of balance was affected. When he was finally able to return to teaching he needed help from the students just to get his notes and text books from his office to the classroom. He was a changed person. I think it was humbling for him to have to ask for assistance. He opened up and became a warm, funny, caring person. Eventually he created a class called "Applied Tropical Botany". It was a 2 week trip to Hawaii touring nurseries and gardens that he and his wife took 18 students on. By the 3rd day we were all lovingly calling Dr. O and his wife "Dad and Mom". This would have been unthinkable 2 years earlier. The Hawaii trip was such a success that a year later he did the same thing for a botanical tour of Europe. It was on this trip that I met my future wife that I wrote about up above.
Thanks Dr. O.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 9:02AM
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Living two years in one of the poorest countries in the world.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 9:48AM
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I was very touched, reading these. I didn't list the things that changed me...mainly because some of it is too painful to think about again, but certainly no worse than what so many of you have been through.

My husband and I were 19 when we married. He had been my childhood sweetheart...we were still children, actually.

We put off having children because we only had $11 to our name the day we married and we wanted to be more financially stable.

Six years after we were married, another woman had a baby with my husband. I didn't find out for a couple of years, altho I knew something was terribly wrong...but he would never admit anything or tell me anything. When I found out,
from someone else, I knew it was the truth when they said the baby's name...Shannon. I liked the name Shannon and when I had a baby, I planned to name it Shannon. My husband didn't want a divorce, but the woman and Shannon were part of my life (and my existance) for 20 years. I made the decision not to have a child of my own, but 15 years later,
I got pregnant, by accident, and had my daughter Erin.

Shannon's mother called me up and told me how sad she was...that she had cried for days when she found out I had a daughter. *sigh* :((

I had considered divorcing my husband many times, but he didn't want a divorce. Too, I was taking care of my elderly mother, and she was a handful. He was very good to my mother and helped her financially. And, sad to say...I had a barn full of horses...and losing them was going to be worse than a divorce. I did end up selling most of the horses, simply because I couldn't function well enough to take care of everything.

Time passed and old wounds healed. Shannon's mother remarried and had a couple more children, and was less of a bother to me.

My mother, tho physically healthy, was becoming worse mentally. She was 42 when I was born, so when I was in my 40's, she was in her 80's. She fell and hit her head and had to have surgery to remove blood clots and was never the same. I had no brothers and sister...did nothing, so I had to put her in a nursing home, but every day my husband or I went to see her. For the first two months she was in, I cooked a meal for her every day and took to her because she didn't like their food.

Long before she went in the nursing home, she never had a kind word to say to me. She wouldn't even eat unless my daughter or husband asked her to. Once she was in the home, tho, she didn't know who I was, and she was nicer.

We got her moved to another home that had better food, but she lived there for 6 1/2 years, and every day we went to see about her.

Then, as I mentioned, in the post about Has Anyone Ever Doubted Your husband fired a deckhand for doing drugs on the boat. A big oil spill recovery job came up and
shrimp boats were hired to help with the work. The deckhand asked if he could go on the job, but my husband had already hired deckhands. We made $10,000 for about a week's work.

Knowing we had money, the deckhand got his girlfriend to come to the boat and she told my husband if he didn't give her $5,000 she was going to say that he had molested her children. We didn't even know the girlfriend and her kids.
My husband told the deckhand he would "more or less" kick his butt if he didn't put a stop to that.

She filed charges...said she was afraid my husband would kill them. Bond set at $200,000 by a JP. Was arrested. I got a lawyer who contacted the JP, and said, look, this guy has never been in trouble for anything...and he dropped the bond to $20,000, and he got out the next day. Otherwise he would have had to stay in jail until he got a bond reduction hearing.

No one ever questioned my husband, but the JP gave the lawyer a copy of the complaint. It was ridiculous. At the time, we didn't live on the bayou, but my horses were here, so I came down here every day. The complaint said the girls were down here every weekend for 6 weeks, riding the horses and my husband made them swim nude in the bayou.

They said it happened at our house, and our house was on a bayou. Our house was no where near the bayou, we lived 20 miles away...there was no house here then. The horses aren't one rides them...don't even own saddles and bridles. Lots of boat traffic in the bayou in the summer. Also, in the summer, my husband worked every day.
He might not come down here for weeks on end, but I was here every day to feed the horses and take care of things here.

Anyway...we went through 5 of which was arrested on cocaine charges the day we were to go to court, and we lost all the money we had given him. He was later dis-barred. The DA didn't want to set a court date...he had no case, but he wouldn't drop it. In fact, he told our last lawyer that the longer he dragged it out, the more money she would make. We went to court several times and each time, it was put off. One of the days we were in court, I got home, only to find out my mother had died. So many days and nights I had sat with her, and then when she died, she died alone....while we were in court, yet again for the case to be put off.

It ended up taking 15 mo. and cost us $60,000. My husband missed most of two shrimp seasons trying to take care of this. All money going for lawyers...boat got ran down, and then missed a lot of work because it was always breaking down.

We had a built a barn here for the tools and welding machine. When my daughter graduated from high school and went to live in Houston to go to college, I moved down here.
I wanted to get away from everyone. I moved into the barn, and still live there to this day...9 years later. Just this past year my husband was able to get his captains license and is a captain on a tow boat now. So he makes a good living and we should be able to build a house this year, so things are looking up.

Eventually, the woman who filed the bogus charges died from a drug over dose. Her kids (teens at the time) were in all kinds of I heard...and all went to prison for various things. The deckhand also went to prison but is out now and is a crack addict. He is almost dead.

Time marches on. Everything is looking up...things are good now. Some things you never forget but you learn to live with them, and find happiness in day to day life.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 10:58AM
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My life has been up and down. I think I've had to start all over from scratch 4 times.

But, it is amazing how we can have the strength to endure some of the things tossed our way.

2009, brings Hope.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 11:39AM
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We have the strength to do what needs to be done.
What is the alternative?

The major event in my life is unlike many here. I had to grieve the loss of a DH who hadn't passed away, but he was dead nontheless. He had demons he fought that overcame him. Those demons were Mental Illness. It first showed it's ugly head after we'd been married for 16 years, after a traumatic event in our neighborhood. I battled his demons with him for over 10 years, and raised our two sons the best I could. Most of the time, the medications helped and he could function fairly normally, but I learned to dread autumn when his symptoms became much worse, and his paranoia would focus on me. He accused me of doing some of the most horrendous things. I learned very quickly that there is no way to prove a negative....there was no way to convince him I wasnt doing or hadn't done the things he accused me of. There is no arguing with an unreasonable person. When it got to the point that I absolutely wasn't able to handle it anymore because all he did was berate me, stare at me with hateful looks, tell me I was going to "get caught" and not get away with what I was doing I felt unsafe in my own home. I went to work one day, and broke down. I was a puddle of tears, and I knew if I didn't get out that I would be sucked down into his abismal life of paranoia and delusions. At this point, he refused help from his dr or anyone. They were all the bad guys. I left. I tried going back several times, but he couldn't handle me being there. I came once with relatives and got some of my stuff, and I haven't been back for over 5 years. I've seen him once in that time.
This man had been my rock, my past and my future. We had a life together that I'd envisioned us very old together and working in our garden and playing with our grandchildren. At the time I left, I still loved the man he'd been before he was ill, and held onto the fact that he had an wasn't his choice.
I left to save my life.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 11:57AM
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Whew..what a life we've all had!

I'm not ready to give a lot of details, but I do know getting married too young sure put me in a different direction.

By the time I was 19, I'd lost one daughter at 4 months of age and was the mother of a new baby girl. This second girl died at age 37 in 2000.

My DS is my youngest and last child. When his dad left us, he was just 9 days old and my second daughter was 10 at the time...another big change.

In 2002, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer..remission is going on 7 yrs. now.

Even tho I've lost my sweet little Mama who was such a great support to me and my children and suffered for years with clinical depression, I'm ok.

Granlan Hugs :)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 12:06PM
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Good Lord almighty....

I too have had some pretty major life changing events of which I certainly cannot write about right now.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 1:11PM
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Alot of things are just too painful, I started more than once and deleted. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 7:18PM
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The things that have changed my life so far seem very trivial up next to what so many of you have endured.

((((Hugs))) all around the table.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 7:52PM
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And here I am complaining of back pain....

You are all amazing people and would want nothing more than to meet all of you. I have also had some life altering moments but too long to get into. When's the next KT reunion????

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 9:23PM
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There have been so many life-altering moments. The one that stands out the most is the sudden loss of my 18 year old daughter - 6 days from HS graduation. That was on Memorial Day in '94. Two years before, I lost my Mom during the Memorial Day weekend. Six years before that, also during the Memorial Day weekend, my Step-father suddenly died from a heat-related heart attack. With my Mom and daughter, I was in Myrtle Beach. Needless to say, I haven't been back to Myrtle Beach. As I said, there have been many other things that changed my path. However, I have to say, that the loss of my daughter has really left a mark. I've noticed that my reaction to things is VERY different - almost complacent sometimes. I'm OK, and I still have feelings about things, but some people don't understand why I don't get upset about little things. I guess it's because I've been through probably the worst thing that could happen to me. It's not a conscious feeling, but I have noticed it.

I've read so many stories here, and elsewhere, and my heart goes out all those suffering through their trials. I've lost my daughter, but at least I know where she is. Many don't, or are having enormous issues with them. That pains me the most. Many parents have lost children to violence and the crimial case remains open - no closure. So, yes, this was life altering for me - divorce and still single after more than ten years, but I do have joy and my faith, and each keeps me going. I have to keep going because if I wake up each morning, there must be a reason, and something for me to do. I can't just go back to sleep and never wake up - not up to me, in my book.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 11:27PM
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So many things have happened that changed me as a person. I wish I had the courage to share, as so many of you have, but I can never speak of much of my past. I greatly admire those who have suffered enormously, but have still gone on to find peace, joy and goodness in life.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 11:54PM
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((((hugs)))) guys are my hero's and give me the strength to go on...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 12:36AM
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I had the perfect childhood -- a mother and father who were very much in love with each other, and who loved the four of us kids. We all knew without question that we were loved. We were well provided for - not spoiled, but we didn't want for anything that we needed.

No one in our family, immediate or extended, had any kind of addiction -- no drugs, no alcohol, no gambling, no cheating/affairs. There was no abuse, verbal, physical, or sexual. I am well aware of how fortunate I was to have such a wonderful upbringing.

My birthday is August 10. My mother's birthday is August 11. Every year we'd celebrate both birthdays together -- it was a big celebration in our house.

On July 30, 1970, my mother died -- metastatic breast cancer. She'd undergone a radical mastectomy 7 years earlier -- a couple of years after her only sibling, my Aunt, had also had a mastectomy. Back then "they" always said that if you lived five years after the surgery you were considered to be cured...

So, 11 days later when we should have been celebrating our birthdays, I had the worst 21st birthday a girl could ever have.

But when things get bad don't ever say to yourself that it's ok because "things couldn't get any worse" -- because they do.

One month and three days after my mother died, my father died.

Daddy had a bad heart valve that needed to be replaced but he'd put off the surgery because Mama was sick. The doctors told us that Daddy probably wouldn't have lived much past the end of that year anyway, but Mama's death brought his death on sooner. He died in his sleep, on the sofa in the family room. He wouldn't sleep in their bed after Mama died.

I became the guardian of my 14-year-old brother.

In February 1988 he was diagnosed HIV+. In the first few days of September 2003 he was admitted to the hospital, directly into ICU. He'd converted from HIV+ to full-blown AIDS. I was told he wouldn't live through the night.

He spent more than 7 weeks in ICU (and twice more I was told he wouldn't last more than a few hours), then a couple more weeks in the Oncology unit. He was discharged from the hospital in late November and I was told that he would "probably not see Christmas."

Have you ever had to buy a Christmas gift for a loved relative/sibling whom you knew was going to die and wouldn't be around to use the gift? Gets kinda difficult to decide what to give, ya know? I got him some sweaters, because he was always cold because of the weight loss. He was usually around 190 lbs. but had dropped to 155 lbs. when he was first admitted to the hospital, and during the time he was in there, he dropped to 130 lbs. He was back up to 140 lbs. by the time he was discharged.

Hubs and I moved my brother in with us, so we could take care of him. I'd used up nearly all my leave time from work to stay at the hospital with him, because I'd promised him years earlier that I would be with him when he died.

His biggest fear was that by being his caregiver that I might get infected with HIV; and his second biggest fear was that he would die alone. Neither fear came to fruition, thank God.

We managed to get him back up to 175 lbs., and he lived for 10 months after being discharged from that hospital. He died on September 30, 1994, at the age of 38. He was the single most courageous person I've ever known.

So, my "life events" have shown me that you need to live life to the fullest, and live it as if every day were your last day on Earth -- because, potentially it could be.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 1:08AM
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Toni S

Ditto Susan on's comment. I do speak about my past pain, to my closets friends and I'm not so sad about it anymore. I've learned alot from it though and when life throws me a curve ball again, I'm gonna be at least a little ready.
When I moved away from home at 17, almost 18, I said I needed 17 years to get over my past. Funny, I really did need that time. Now it's well past 17 years and I'm still learning, a good amount from the KT too. No wonder I keep coming back.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 1:24AM
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To all of you friends- HUGS! I'm wishing all of you an early good New Year wish... May it bring you the peace we all need, strength to face whatever the future holds, and the courage and determination to go on. Have a happy and healthy one to you and yours. You are all awesome. orie

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 2:59PM
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Gee, my story pales in comparison to all of yours.

The life events that changed me most as a person was suffering through two miscarriages.

DH and I had a 'shotgun' wedding when I discovered I was PG. I was around 12 weeks along when we tied the knot. A week after we married, I discovered I had suffered a miscarriage. Damn. I had to have a D&C on January 9th, two weeks after we married (it was also my mother's birthday). Talk about two miserable souls.

Four years later, DH and I decided to try again (yes, we stuck it out). Yup, another miscarriage.

A few months later, I conceived again, only to be put on bedrest at 22 weeks. I endured four months of bed rest and five lonely weeks in a military hospital.

DD #1 was born healthy and at term. I went on to give birth to a 2nd DD three years later.

The miscarriages taught me how precious life is and how very much I wanted to be a mother.

Now that my DDs are 8 and 5, many days I'm ready to sell them to the highest eBay bidder (just kidding), but I love them and wouldn't take anything for my journey to get them here.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 3:44PM
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Wow! You all are my heroes, too.

DH and I are senior citizens having been happily married for 53 years. Our daughter is 45 yrs old and has used a wheelchair since high school because of rheumatoid arthritis which she contractd at age 7. She lived with us for 40 years and we took care of her needs and she managed to graduate college magna cum laude and now lives with two other women, one of whom is also disabled.

She works for the local sunday newspaper and loves her job. She has 4 attendants who help her with personal needs and one takes her to work every day. They are wonderful and caring and dependable.

However, DH does pick her up from work every day and we also go to the grocery store for her, pick her up after hair appts and are generally on call for emergencies.

I don't know how it has changed me because I don't know how I would have been if she had been healthy. I do know that if somebody had told me that DH and I would be basically tied down for most of our adult life, I would have flipped.

I feel fortunate that DH has been so helpful with DD and handles it better than I do sometimes. When others would go to Florida and travel I would envy them. Now, I am grateful for what I have.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 4:33PM
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In 1998 DH had a really good-paying job for that time (actually even for now) & a pretty big 401k for someone not yet 30 years old. I had a pretty good job & fair balance in my 401k. We also had a house payment & one car payment. Then DH decided he wanted to leave the security of his job & start his own business. I didn't want to do that, but that was his dream. I worried that if I refuse to even try that he'd always resent it. So he left to start the business, which actually went very well at first. We weren't as prepared as we should have been with savings in the bank, etc. But we needed to make a fairly quick decision due to a large project that we would lose if we spent too much time considering. Then he decided that he should start another related business. I worried that the time he would have to put into the startup would take him away from our main business, but he was sure it would be okay.

Several months before DH left his job, we found that my mom's cancer had spread again. She was given only months to live. DH left his job in Aug, my mom died in Feb, & I was laid off from my job in April. That's a lot of major life events in a short time. For quite a while, my life involved working full-time, helping my parents at night & on weekends & doing the accounting for DH's businesses when I had time. I admit that I was distracted by the demands of working full-time & helping care for my mom. My dad was very difficult to deal with during this time. He was having a hard time accepting that mom was going to be gone & he was very angry & demanding. This made my life even more stressful. After I was laid off, we decided that I would work with DH managing the office & doing the accounting. So I sat down one day & really began looking at the bills. I knew we had been charging a lot on our credit cards. DH's original business, which had done well at first, was indeed suffering because he was spending too much time getting the other business started. He was putting off projects & the cash flow had really decreased. We were more deeply in debt than I had imagined. Things began to turn around some, but we were unable to make any progress on our debt. I kept the bills paid & made sure that our credit rating wasn't affected, but I was paying minimum payments on most things. We eventually ended up forfeiting his 401k to help pay some of our debt. Even so, we still had problems because business had dropped off.

I sank into a very deep depression & was suicidal. Those were really dark times. My doctor believed that it was just too much happening too close together. He felt that I might have been able to handle things better had they not all happened one right after another. I did go on medication & it helped a great deal. I finally got up the courage to ask my dad for a loan. I was raised to be very private about finances & to not get into debt except for something major like a house or a car. It took a lot for me to admit to my dad that we had so much debt. After I explained the situation, he had one question, "Why didn't you come to me sooner?" He wasn't happy that we had gotten in so deep, but he was more than willing to help. He told me to get him a list of everything we owed & bring it to him. We then went to the bank, where he used one of his CD's to secure our debt. Consolidating it into one monthly payment with a much lower interest rate made it so much easier to deal with. DH went back to work with his old company soon after. We closed one business & sold the other to a competitor.

I learned a lot from those bad times. One thing is that I make sure to pay close attention to our finances regardless of how busy or distracted I am. The other is not to let my pride get in the way. My dad would have helped us much earlier if I'd just swallowed my pride & asked, instead of pretending that everything was fine. I also learned that depression is an illness & not something that you can control. I used to think that there was no such thing as real depression & that people were just weak because they gave in instead of forcing themselves to be happy. I now know the truth about depression.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 9:44PM
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The things that happen to you as a young person have the most effect, IMO, because they 'shape' you when you are still growing and trying to understand the world. Later, you have a Self (We hope.) and have some control over what goes on, how to 'weigh' it, how to act rather than just react.

My parents separated when I was two. They divorced when I was six. My father immediately married the woman who was the cause of the divorce and they had two daughters. My mother never remarried. She had to support herself, me and her elderly widowed mother because my father failed to contribute to our household. A priviledged life ended, not due to death or illness, but because of deliberate abandonment. Fortunately, my mother was talented as well as loving, and we did OK -- but at great cost to her. I had learned that life could be fickle; security today did not guarantee security tomorrow. These were premature lessons for a child.

A year after I married I discovered I could not conceive or bear children. Someone has mentioned 'dating' things as before or after a tragedy. I date everything from before or after the birth of our adopted son. (And some things from the birth date of *his* son!)

I had a witch of a MIL, but I learned to take my own position with her and it became bearable. When she died, DH discovered that he had been adopted and family secrets unspooled. (DH's father wanted a child; she didn't; father died when DH was nine, leaving a will tying his wife to their child.) Together we traced the story and found some peace. We also contacted our DS's birthfamily -- more peace for all in the 'knowing'.

My mother died slowly, of leukemia, when I was 37. Very painful loss for me, with no other parent, aunt, uncle, or siblings. Yet, here I am with a good husband of 44 years, dear son, DIL and GS -- and two new hips! We're all well and housed and fed, secure in an America that I hope is turning a corner.

This is a good thread. I think every adult can benefit greatly from taking stock of his or her life -- especially with a tallented psychologist -- to revisit with *adult* eyes the events of childhood. What we take in and interpret as 'real' as kids is not always so 'real'.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 2:09PM
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I've had crazy life experiences, eary marriage (our hope was to fill a house with kids) then we learned that Huntington's was a family problem, and at the time undiagnosable, so we didn't have those kids. We grew apart after 20 years and divorced somewhat amicably. I was not planning marriage again when I met a goofy guy one work a holic (which I was and I swore never to date one). It's been ohhh 9 years since then I think, and he's definately been a major "event" that changed my outlook on life.

But really, the one big event was the birth of my suprise DS when I was 42. We did not plan him...he was a HUGE suprise, but when we did find out we were pregnant (at five months) we ebraced it...only to have him come to us seven weeks early (shortest pregnancy in the history of stupid women). He was very small (3lbs 15oz) and we took him home at only 3lbs two weeks later, his only obvious issues of prematurity were an inability to feed due to weakness which is why we spent those two weeks in NICU. Then two weeks later he started to cry, and he cried nd cried and cried for two years. He had over 20 dirty explosive bowel movement daily, he was chronic fail to thrive for 2 1/2 years, with unknown cause. We spent over a million dollars, and over ten months in and out of hospitals all over the country to find out what was wrong with him. Several fatal diagnoses were always proved incorrect, and the ones that weren't fatal were life changing...and each time we'd fly to the expert of the week and find out he didn't have that one either. At age 3 he was finally diagnosed with a rare blood condition which causes him to get sick constantly, basically he always has a low level infection in his body. After six months of isolation, he's grown, but now that it's cold and flu season, he's back to being sick two out of every three weeks. I gave up my much loved career to be hee for him,and would do it again in a second, but I'll say, the whole experience has changed me in ways I'd never expect.

We are trying to have another child, after losing one due to a bad fall last may where I broke my wrist and had to have extensive surgery (donate your bones...I'm a recipient of one and I appreciate it!) So now, we're in a race with age with a self imposed deadline of this month to get pregnant, otherwise we give up and we'll just spoil our darling and his friends.

During the entire three years our home was being remodeled. We've been swindled, lost large amounts of money to theft and incompetence, and had to purchase another home to live in while this was going on...but you know, that stuff dosen't really phase me at all anymore. It's only money, and it's only a house, and none of it matters. We've been blessed with enough to be able to find care for our son, and can afford to move to protect him, and for that we are thankful, but all the other's just goober :o) We'd trade everything in the world to make our boy well, literally everything!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 5:33PM
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