Lucky Number 7
Seven years ago when my life took a turn down a tumultuous road that almost broke me - financially, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Seven years ago I was sitting in my home not knowing how I would ever survive what was before me.
I had two young boys counting on me - my eldest son at the time was just 12 and my youngest was 8.
Looking back it seems like a lifetime ago however when I blink if feels like yesterday.
I didn't have a car in working condition - no job to wake up to - my mother had just passed away six months prior and my husband was not to have any contact with me..he had just been arrested the 2nd time in a few short months for domestic abuse - we were separated physically, and spiritually.
The marriage was over.
It was before I knew about food stamps, child support and the food pantry.
It was during a time I mentally was that middle class stay at home mom, but living a single mom's life in poverty.
The pennies my soon to be ex husband threw my way were used to buy pancake mix, hot dogs, oatmeal, top ramen soup and vegetables.
I sold my possessions to pay bills - and usually with tears running down my face.
I had always been good at fixing life situations, so I managed to keep our home life stable for the children - they still had a roof, and all the things around them that they always had. As for the other stuff I couldn't fix, we called it "our life adventure."
They never knew just how alone their mother felt. And alone, I was.
We had only been living in Wisconsin for a few short years - I still didn't know people like I do now and the people I did know I wasn't ready to trust them with what was happening in my world.
I was isolated. I isolated myself. In a way it was the only way to protect what was left of my fragile ego. I was still absorbing the shock of my mother passing and waking up in a physically and emotionally violent marriage after more than 15 years of being married.
It was June 28, 2006 - a night when all hell had broken loose and I was dealing with threats against my life from my soon to be ex.
I can remember the fear.
I remember sitting in my office area of my home with the lights off and a candle flickering.
I remember the music playing on my radio and how sour the wine I poured myself tasted - It was old and I rarely drank - the bitterness of it's taste reflected the world around me.
I felt so alone and hated that feeling - I needed a friend. A friend who would listen to me - be honest with me and not get caught up in the drama of knowing both my soon to be ex and myself.
So - I reached out. I reached out by posting on an AOL message board that I was looking for a platonic pen pal -nothing more, nothing less.
Little did I know then just how that simple post would keep me sane over the soon to happen rocky road of my life -
Someone answered my post - it was a friendly answer warning me to beware of certain replies I may get and that to always remember that no matter how hard things get there is someone out there going through something worse.
I appreciated the honesty as I wasn't looking to be patted on the head as so many people often do during times like this.
A unique friendship began - a friendship that would last through so much of my life yet to be discovered.
I was relieved that the person on the other end wasn't looking for more than I was at the time - just communication.
That person was a "he" who lived over 2000 miles from me - a safe distance.
We emailed almost daily. On the nights I couldn't sleep or when my soon to be ex let his rage target me, it was that friend who kept me from falling into a dark hole of depression and isolation. We would share messages throughout the night about antiques, music, movies, and politics. Sometimes agreeing and sometimes a heated debate. All of which kept me from feeling sorry for myself and getting trapped in the drama around me.
Soon those emails turned into phone calls as well. And in those conversations we continued the communication we had online - pure - innocent - platonic - and on current events and a shared interest in honoring items of the past, antiques.
Those innocent conversations kept me sane during some of the most insane periods of my life -
All of which was a gift as I needed my sanity intact to find my inner strength to move forward in life as Eva and not as "so and so's wife" ..."that child's mother" ..."his sister" ..."her daughter".
I was finally able to be me and as cliche' as it might sound, let my wings spread to take flight and be free of the chains of domestic violence and low self esteem.
It was just a few months after that friendship when I landed a job as a reporter for my local paper -
And the year when I realized being proud doesn't mean you don't ask for and accept help - dignity can remain intact as you piece back together the pieces of your life - you just have to learn you are worth the effort.
Seven years -
In those years my friend has heard my stories of life -working - parenting - surviving and even dating again.
He was there for me on Aug 13, 2007, when the final and most brutal attack against the children and I happened.
He's listened to my often off the wall stories of life -my vents - and on the various adventures I have had during that time, including starting an organization for the low income and homeless when at the time myself I was barely making it.
We've argued over politics...quite a bit
We've had silly arguments over things I cannot remember
But always in the end our friendship remained intact and grew stronger.
My friend's name was soon a regular name discussed in the house -the boys spoke to him and they shared their interests with him - video games -
I know others would caution against such a friendship and the way it started, but I am truly one who believes that everything happens for a reason -
As was proven to me just this year - 7 years later -
My car stopped doing it's job. No brakes and more problems than I could have ever imagined. All of which happened just as the swing of life was starting towards an upswing.
No car meant less work - less money and I already lived on an income under the poverty line.
Everything was tumbling down around me and all avenues to fix it were nothing but roadblocks -
The night I came to the conclusion that I didn't think I could handle one more thing going wrong, that it would be my last straw - my friend told me that it was time he would visit.
It would be the first time ever that we met face to face, and that while here he would fix what he could on that car.
I was excited but also cautious.
7 years - in them - we created this safe distance of a friendship - what would happen face to face? Would it change?
There wasn't much time to think about it as the night he told me his plans was just a week away from him being in front of me.
I had a house to clean! - like THAT happened the way I wanted it to! HA! Of course that week before he came happened to be an extremely busy week for me and of course the boys did what teen boys do best, nothing.
He boarded a train with his bags overloaded with the tools needed to fix my van.
A friend had to drive me to the train station to pick him up. I was a nervous wreck. After all, it had been 7 years with a comfortable distance.
Would I even recognize him? He had seen countless pictures of the boys and me, and I had seen his.
But still, would we recognize one another?
The minute he got off the train -I knew him and he knew me.
Surreal would be an under statement.
Five almost six weeks is the amount of time he stayed.
And just like the 7 years prior, our friendship proved to be as strong as it always had been -
He got my car running and it was no easy task -
A master cylinder- break lines, rear wheel cylinder, anti-freeze line, heater fan, windshield wipes, tune up, oil change...etc.
Imagine how much that meant to me and still does.
The boys and him got along like if a family member had come for a visit.
Actually, his entire visit with us was that way - never once did it feel wrong or odd.
It was like family had come home.
We laughed, debated, and even had a few silly arguments.
In the end, just like the 7 years prior, the friendship remained intact and stronger than ever before.
Needless to say people in my community were wondering just exactly who this stranger was -
In the 7 years I went from a nobody to knowing everybody....with that comes people caring and wondering. So yes, questions on who he was and why he was here soon came my way.
He's my best friend - was my response
It sums it up best!
I am a lucky lady as these last seven years now prove.
Everything does happen for a reason -
If my life never took that turn 7 years ago, today I wouldn't be telling you about my special friendship with a remarkable human being.
Somehow I feel this is my year for new starts - new adventures -
Lucky number 7
I started selling my all natural lotion bars and body oils
I am thinking I will take a vacation for the first time since before mother died
And that there will be more adventures to come -
All I know is after everything I've been through and have done, I know there's more on the way and I am grateful for it!