I came across a picture of you today. You were four years old, down the shore at my parents' house standing next to my father who sat on a chair with Sophia on the other side. Though I have come to some sort of peace within myself, the picture caused a wee bit of pain in my heart. Yes. I miss you more than you or anyone else will ever know.
Adversity can destroy a person or it can make a person stronger or wiser. I believe it has done the latter with me. There are not too many things that rattle my bones anymore because when you have had my experiences and had felt my pain, there are not too many things that could impact you. I no longer take things for granted nor do I get upset over the small things and when you really think about it most things are small and not worth the worry.
On the other hand, the pain I experienced has not made me bitter which is what I feared the most. The pain has made me more compassionate towards the pain of others. I am a better mother, grandmother, wife and counselor today. I have more patience. I look at people and see the inside no matter what the exterior may show. Mostly, I feel joy where there was so much pain. I laugh often. I experience each and every day and often times live daily life as if it were my last day on this earth. I have faith in God and people. I am filled with love. I hold tightly onto hope.
I do not know exactly why I was not destroyed as a result of my experiences. There were some very dark moments when I did not know if I could hold on. I did somehow hold on and I am glad I did because the clouds did leave and the sun did shine again. I cannot go back and change anything but I can start all over. I extended my lease another ten months and in those ten months I will make a decision on whether or not I return home. The important thing is I continue to move forward love deeply and experience life on life's terms.