January 19, 2003

Dearest Penny,

How do I Thank you for all you have been to me and my family.
The Words just don't seem to be enough.

You have become a rock in my life; a solid source of information and the truest friend I have ever known. I appreciate your kind hospitality and so very grateful for your loving support. Penny, you have this incredible ability to Love unconditionally, even a stranger as I was to you in the beginning. I'm miles ahead from when we first met, with confidence I never had before.

I am the product of a dysfunctional family going back many generations. Life included all the ingredients of alcoholism, abuse and neglect. As a child I began building my wall of "protection", it was a way to cope with what I knew to be the norm. Although my parents were good people, worked hard to support our small family, the burdens fell upon mother early in my life. Now, I look back and am able to forgive the injustices of my youth, letting go of the blame, the guilt and self-punishment for who I am and what became of my life. As simple as that might seem to others, it was an incredible struggle for me. It was the turning point in my life because without someone else to blame, there was just me. I was forced to look in the mirror and what I saw looking back left me empty inside breaking me down into an emotional basket case. For years I went though life like this, not knowing who I really was or where I belonged. The affect on my life was devastating, I was depressed, I couldn't get passed the guilt over all the emotional pain I had inflicted, upon the people that I loved most. As my life was stripped of all that was precious, nothing seemed to matter anymore. Life just seemed to pass on by, with or without me.

My state of confusion led to many abuses of my own, bad choices and worse decisions. Increasing the depth of this black hole, for which I fell with an undeniable force. The impact caused a chain reaction of events, none of them good.

All my fears in life became real and life became reality. I knew I had to find TRUTH but had no idea how hard I would have to fight, myself. It's funny how old levels of comfort creep back in when you just don't feel like fighting for it anymore. Meaning, if you slip, just get up again. That's all.

There's good that comes from all things, learning how to find it is the key. It has been pure determination that I can write this today. I set out many years ago in search of the woman I have finally found. It has been my goal to stop the cycle for which I was born, it was ignorance in the past. It's been my choice for my future. We all have our own demons...But, I wasn't willing to pass them down to my own generation. Their life will be challenging enough, it's been my job to let go of "our" past so they are better able to carry on with the future. The truth is what it is, there is no denying it and calling it life.

My story is your story, it is not unusual or exceptional.

I found Penny and The Second Chance Foundation while at the bottom of My Black Hole.

I will honestly say if it hadn't been for her, I would have never made it out. For this, I will be forever grateful with deep love and gratitude for this woman. She is an Angel.

Love always,