“It requires more courage to suffer than to die.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
“The best protection any woman can have is courage.” ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“Seeing much, suffering much, and studying much are the three pillars of learning.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli
Two years ago today my world shattered. Life as I knew it came to a screeching halt. Our family was all but destroyed. But we survived. We escaped. We’re home. My children are living under one roof– brother and sister reunited at last– just as it should be. They’re happy and that’s all that matters.
Yet what happened in California came dangerously close to crushing my soul. I’ll never be the same. ‘Damage’ seems almost dismissive when analyzing the catastrophic effect on my life. It came perilously close to total ruin. Some might argue that my emotional recovery still necessitates lots of work. I wouldn’t disagree with them.
When I think of where I was at this time last year I cannot help but feel immense gratitude. Am I lonely and suffering in Atascadero without my kids? No. I’m surrounded by family and loved ones, appreciative of the incredible progress I’ve made, and continuing to work towards my goals.
Let me take this opportunity to say that a goal of mine is to never become silent about our family’s ordeal. Whether it’s my book; social media; this blog; word of mouth; writing for magazines; or even standing on the corner of the street [or the steps of the courthouse], I’ll never stop speaking about what happened to us. I’m waiting until the time is right but that certainly doesn’t mean I’m not talking. It is my duty to advocate not only for my family but to be a voice for those most vulnerable and defenseless among us….our children. You cannot endure hell like I have without having a moral obligation to expose such atrocities to as many people as possible. If nobody holds them accountable, those perpetrating evil in the County of San Luis Obispo will continue their unjust and illegal crusade against families. We must hold them accountable. There will be no reform of Child Welfare Services or Family Court until we as a society demand action and accountability.
CWS might have won the battle but they lost the war.
With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,