“Five years ago, I owned the roof over my head and a new car, I held a management position within a great company, I was able to buy my two sons birthday and Christmas gifts without having to rely on anyone but myself. I donated to the food shelf, the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots (which was a very humbling experience this past Christmas, when I wasn’t a donor, but a recipient). I excelled in every area of my life, from parenting, to a successful career and marriage. I was living what some people called the “American Dream.”
I never could of imagined for a single second that I would ever become homeless. I couldn’t even tell you where a single shelter or safe house was. Until it happened to me. And although no one could ever prepare themselves for homelessness, it literally took me down hard, both physically and mentally.
So what brought me to Ruth’s House? I was a victim of domestic abuse, as well as negative choices that I made. What took me 15 years to obtain, I lost in less than two years. Absolutely everything, including the most important things such as my self-respect, confidence, loyalty, and any and all optimism, my priorities, morals, values, and the one thing that will always sting the most, I had lost both my sons’ respect. I went from being a happy go lucky driven woman, having it all, to being upset with God and the world every morning. Every night I prayed for God to take me. It was just too painful to continue living the life I was.
I can hardly begin to describe what Ruth’s House has meant to me. The most important being stability, goals, confidence, hope, safety, support, encouragement, the list is endless. I wake up every day now and my first thought is not anger that God didn’t take me during the night, it’s appreciation and happiness that he gave me another day, so I can continue living a life that I love. Do I have a car? Own the roof over my head? Have a career? No, none of the above. But I cannot remember, except for the birth of my boys, being happier with my life. Or appreciating more everything I have in my life.
There are moments when I think to myself, “I’m 40 years old and every single thing I own is in my room at a women’s shelter.” Then I start the shoulda, coulda, woulda and what ifs over what led me to Ruth’s House. But that’s where it stops. Because then I immediately start thinking of everything positive I have going on in my life — how I’m in my second semester of college (at 40!), how much happier, stronger and confident I am, how much my sons love and respect me now — and I realize that not a single one of those great things would be happening WITHOUT Ruth’s House and the events that took place.
I am thankful to each and every person at Ruth’s House — clients, staff members, volunteers, donors and every level of supporter — for all that they do for us. For me. And for my sons, who I would not be able to hug and say “I love you” every day without the support of Ruth’s House.”