Living back in the house where I laid myself down, naturally, brought up some feelings and wisdom. Most nights I slip under the covers of “that” bed, say my prayers and fall asleep with a little grin on my face. Besides, I am not high on negative substances, I am high on life. My PJs are cute and cottony, not long, flowing and sparkling like the angel dress I wore on Feb. 19, 2001. The room looks different now and today there is is larger-than-life springer spaniel lying next to my booted foot. Life is comfortably normal.

Sometimes, though, I look out my bedroom window and see the same trees I saw that day. My heart skips a beat when I hear sirens but today I know they are not for me. The trees today are blooming and full of life, but they’re the same trees. And though my world stopped the day I was abused for the first time and again on the day I tried to erase myself from existence, the trees stood tall. They grew new life and went back to sleep in the winter, again and again for 8-1/2 more years. While those days were monumental to me, they, to the trees, were just days.

Try explaining that to my mother whose eyes I have to look into every day. I know the pain I caused her, and others, and I am very sorry. I can’t take back those shadowed years of sadness and worry. I can give her myself today and love her wholly now. Besides, it’s all I have.

I really don’t mean to oversimplify my or anyone else’s pain or recovery. But this is what I learned. Life can be extremely painful, sad and unthinkably unfair. But the past is gone. in my friend Holly’s wisdom, “It is what it is.” Only I can make the past seem good or bad and I chose to make it a blessing. Because of my past – yes, painful, sad and unfair in many ways – I am who I am today. ANd I am happy.

So I will stand tall like the trees, through rainy days and sunny days. And I have learned so much from those trees. As I live each day, each moment, I will love with all my heart. I will give myself some of that love. Besides, it’s all I have.