powerful

‘Is it cancer?’ I had to tell my son, ‘I don’t know.’ There’s no treatment. We were told go home and live life.’: Twin brother suffers 2 brainstem strokes caused by a cavernous angioma, mom says it’s made her children ‘kinder, better’

“I had 3 happy, healthy, perfect kids. Until I didn’t. Zach called home from the school nurse with a headache. I followed our standard rule, ‘You aren’t throwing up, you don’t have a fever. Go back to class.’ For 2 days, he told me his eyes and ears felt weird. I told a friend, a nurse, that my son was holding his head funny. Within a minute she said, ‘You need to get him checked.’ I said, ‘Oh ok.’ Then she said, ‘I mean now.’”

‘I didn’t remember I had my shirt off. ‘Mama, can I take a picture of Bowie?’ I vaguely remember shifting him on my hip so she’d see him better.’: Mom felt ‘disgusted’ after postpartum photos, says it’s ‘normal to mourn your body’

“Alas, a picture was taken. I scrolled through the 50 she took of us and I was not thrilled with what I was looking at. Why? Because of my stomach. The little house this baby grew in was the reason for my disgust. It took me 3 days to even look at those pictures again.”

‘I needed to tell, in case I went ‘missing.’ I was terrified. ‘You’ve been talking again, haven’t you?’ I ran into the bathroom. ‘Mom, please come.’ It was now or never. It HAD to happen NOW!’

“I snuck my younger children out. My 10-year-old and I grabbed the only belongings I had hidden. As we walked quietly to the door, his music stopped! I whispered, ‘FREEZE, DONT MOVE.’ With tears in my eyes I thought this was it, he knew I was escaping. ‘Run, run now!’”

‘He was always disappearing. I created a picture-perfect life for others to gawk at and admire. I didn’t want to be alone.’: Single mom says leaving her abuser was the ‘hardest decision of my life’

“The changes in his behavior were subtle. The flirting and flattery mutated into backhanded compliments and criticisms. If I ever questioned his behavior or cruelty, he would dismiss my concerns. ‘I was just joking.’ ‘You shouldn’t be so sensitive.’ ‘Can’t you take a joke?’ I spent all my energy trying to impress him.”

‘I married a wealthy man at the age of 19. He was already divorced and 15 years older. I ran away and broke all ties with my parents. I was vulnerable.’

“I remember someone from another relationship telling me, ‘You should be happy, at least I am taking off one major thing in your to-do list by marrying you!’ I made the decision that my son and I will never meet him again. People often remind me I am a single mother. I tell them, ‘I was a single mother even when I was married.’”

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