Tracey Anne Hallberg is my Monday Guest Contributor. She is a survivor of Family Crisis, and proof positive that there is light on the other side. She shares from her heart, leaving very little to the imagination.
Her story is valid, important, and needs to be shared. My personal journey is very different from hers, but on my journey, I have come upon many...many...who have had to live through horrors similar to the upbringing Tracey was forced to endure.
Tracey is one of the most courageous women I have had the privilege to know, and I am honored to share Wings Like Eagles with her every Monday.
Tracey's account is graphic and raw, and is not suitable for young or sensitive readers. I give her posts a strong PG-13 rating.
Dana & I were shipped off to a Foster Home. We were further abused there, although we got good food and plenty of church. That part was good. I liked the Bible stories.
The contrast of how they treated us at the home was confusing. "Heathens," they would call us Me and Dana had very foul language. And we laughed at sexual jokes like crazy. Yea. Twelve and seven. Yea. We were already grown. Wasn't our fault. It was Mama's.
She was in treatment for six months. Then when she got out and got us back, the cycle began again. She would move us to this horrible, unnamed town. The armpit of the South. Despicable, vile town. Drugs, booze, losers. All over again.
And Mama knew how to pick 'em. I remember I had a boyfriend, Carl Jordan. He was the first boy I ever loved. Dana stole him by sleeping with him. She didn't care. Or want him. It was jest in her nature. She was the pretty one, anyways.
I was so angry. I took a kitchen knife, and carved in her wall above her bed, "Dana is a WHORE!" I hated her. She came home to see that. She was so angry. She stabbed me in the thigh with a fork. Then I threw a knife at her. Missed her foot by a hair. So I clawed her legs to shreds. We were no longer friends, you see. We were competing. For survival and attention.
Mama didn't mean for this to happen. We had always been a team. But now we were on our own. It was eat, or get eaten. Sad. So sad.
I missed my sister's love. As the years passed, I was emancipated. Moved to California at a young age. Mama's third husband, Dick, did me in. Had enough of Mama's crap.
Moved in with Daddy. That didn't last. I was grown. Didn't need anybody tellin' me when to get home. I ended up gettin' my GED. Went to College. That is when I met Clint. I was now isolated.
Mama passed away when I was twenty-four. I had been with Clint for 9 years.
Mama knew her time was coming. She was expressing much regret for the way she had raised us. Told me to open my Bible, and believe what it said. Asked me if I was faithful and happy. I said, "Yea mama, sure."
She knew I wasn't happy. I was a mess. I jest put my pieces in a box, and carried them around with me, all distorted. Still had the pieces though. Can't say the same for Dana.
She was so far out on Meth, she stopped makin' sense. Tried to drink a jar of mayonnaise, one day, thinkin' it was her beer. She'd been up for days.
I prayed to God from the time I was 11, until I was 30, for God to get her clean and sober.
You see, Dana married a drug dealer/addict, straight from prison. Hello, their ceremony was IN prison. He supplied her a fine brick home. Toys and food for the kids. Plenty of lotto money and drugs. Plenty of drugs.
I came to visit her during the time I had left Clint and was with my husband, Jason, and she had been up so long. I had found her in the bathtub with a needle in her arm. I hate needles to this day. Have to turn away when givin' blood. She was passed out. Wouldn't wake up for the plane. Wayne, her husband, woke up and rushed me to the airport. I was in the lion's den. I had just wanted to see her. It was bad. It was really terrible.
I didn't hear from, or see my sister for a year. I told her, "YOU need Jesus." She said, "What has JESUS ever done for us? Look at my life. I am happy. I have a home. I got food. My kids have what they need. I can get high. I got what I need."
I started to pray for God to do HIS will with her life. Whatever He needed to have happen. Do it. To show SHE needed HIM.
When a collect call came in from my sister, it had a good year for me. Jason and I were dating, and attending church. I was healing. Therapists. Healthy lifestyle. Love. He loved me. It was unreal.
When her collect call came in, she was lucid. Sober. She said, "I have been in rehab for 22 days. I love you. I miss you. I am so sorry for abandoning you. Please forgive me. I lost every material thing I owned. My house burned to tha ground~!"
You see, there had been a fire. Dana's girls, Beth & Emily insisted on sleeping in the living room to finish their TV program on a school night. Dana had been arguing with them to go to bed. "Please, Mama, please. We will wake up on time." Dana told them, "OK. But I don't want to hear no fussin', or fightin' about how tired you are."
You see, the fire had started in the attic, and had fallen on the girls beds! When the house was burning Dana woke and ran in their rooms to see their beds on fire! She was screaming looking for them and runnin' around frantic. T-shirt. No underwear, no false teeth in her head. No shoes. When it got too smokey, she ran out of the house, screaming, to find them sitting on the gravel road by their house. In sheer shock.
"Praise JeSuS~!" she wailed. Fell to her knees. Praise God...She said she felt angels all around her. Chills.
The girls slept in the living room that night. They would not have survived otherwise.
Emily said, "Mama did you shake me awake?" She replied, "No, baby."
She then asked, "Beth, Wayne, did you shake me awake?" They said, "No Emily...we did not."
"Mama, SOMEBODY shook me awake!"
We think it was mama. Dana and I discussed that many times after that. Or it was God Himself.
When she felt the angels all around, and was praising Jesus, her husband said, "Why are you praising Jesus? We jest lost everything." She pointed at her girls and said, "I didn't lose NOTHIN'!!" She then got a divorce and went into rehab.
She was homeless, in rehab, clean, sober, joyful, grateful for her life, for her girls.
And I was completely happy, except for missing my little brother, Jason.
For 7 years. For 7 years, I got to know my sister. In her full, healthy, purposeful, Jesus-loving, wonderful, loving, happy self.