I’ve had this friend who has been more like family since I was 8 years old. She used to babysit us and through the years we became very close friends. To say her life has been hard would be a drastic understatement. At 16 she got pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful, smart little girl whom she worked her butt off to support. My friend then graduated high school on time… pregnant with twins! She married the summer after her graduation and by the following year her and her husband and three babies moved to be closer to his family in California. I visited often and at first the visits were super fun (albeit a bit of trouble, but super fun)!
After a few visits I started to realize, things were not exactly ideal for her. They were poor, her husband seemed a bit controlling and the kids were jumpy around him. One day out of the blue I got a phone call from her saying she was pregnant and due in a month! I was so surprised because I had been out there just 6 weeks earlier and she sure didn’t appear pregnant…however, she had a HUGE bruise on her thigh. On my final visit out to meet the new baby and help her after an emergency c-section (I was 17), I saw just how terrible things really were, as I witnessed the anger and physical violence that awful man was probably inflicting daily. We packed those babies up and I drove her ass straight to the police station where we had him arrested and pressed charges.
But like every abusive relationship, she went back…he controlled everything. Getting away was difficult and of course he was going to change, so she stayed. If he did change it was temporary. I know the abuse continued, he would call me with crazy conspiracy theory crap and try to tell me that my friend was an awful person. He was a freaking lunatic. For 8 years I tried to convince her to leave him, offer her different ways to get away, finally she just did it! She left, she filed for divorce and kicked him out with the help of some friends and family.
Over the last 10 months, the kids have become stronger happier individuals, my friend has learned to be stronger as well and is doing it all on her own.
Then just recently after enduring so much abuse and hardship and overcoming everything she calls and she told me she has cancer…I was devastated and I know she was too. She has yet to tell her kids (after the holidays) and the cancer is not responding to treatment very well.
She has had to shift around funds to be able to pay for doctor co-pays and treatment and there was literally no money for Christmas. She had told me she was re-gifting a few items from a gift exchange at work that people left. That just about killed me. Jason and I have the means to afford a nice Christmas for our family, our kids have never known abuse and I pray never will. Here she is with cancer, and her first Christmas with all the kids and NO ABUSE or FEAR or gifts. Now I know gifts are not what make Christmas. I know that…but kids; kids have a hard time understanding why some kids get lavish gifts and others get nothing. I proceeded to get on the phone and call every.single radio station I could in the central valley area of California. No one could help on such short notice.
So I reached out to my friends and family on Facebook and that is where the true spirit of Christmas was exhibited. I set a goal of $500.00 (truly believing that that was unreal and that if we got $100.00 that would be amazing). By 7:00pm last night we were at $465.00 with online donations and another $100.00 from my family. I was able to Moneygram part of the cash to her ($350.00) last night before the stores closed and will be sending the rest this week! My friend cried…A LOT, when she found out about what we were doing. She continues to thank me and everyone.
It was truly miraculous for my friends and family to pull together to support this family and give them a beautiful gift…not just material but for them to see that people do care, when you ask for help you can get it, and that the majority of this world has a beautiful heart. All those ideals were not typical for them growing up and I know that when they woke up this morning to more then they imagined and were told about all of the donations, they truly felt what Christmas is all about…LOVE.
Thank you to my friends and my family who made this possible, you are all angels and I cannot even express how awesome you all are! I will be posting pictures of their Christmas in an upcoming post with an update.
From my family to yours…Merry Christmas