Last week I had a story to tell. I knew who I was and I couldn’t wait to get it down. Last week I was going to tell you that on March 13, 1998 I took 95 aspirin and lay down to die. I grew up with severe depression, but when I attempted to take my life, I found my purpose. I spent eight days at the hospital and realized I could make a difference. Old ladies that wouldn’t get dressed, would, after I talked to them. It seems minor, but the seed of helping people in my future was planted in my mind.
Last week, I thought that’s where it began. After my suicide attempt people came into my life and turned me around. They taught me how to love my life. So in 2008, when I found myself miserable, I knew I could change it. I quit my job, went to Africa, and began a new path. I started a fair-trade company with a friend, and began a non-profit to inspire, educate and empower women around the world. Last week, I was on the right path. I knew where I was going and I was excited about my future and the future of others whose lives I would touch.
This week, someone stole that from me.
In November 2009 I got an email from a friend in Manitoba, Canada, telling me he had colon cancer and was moving to my area to be close to better hospitals. I invited him to stay in my home. In March, he moved in and we became close friends. It was nice to come home and have someone to talk to. I was no longer an isolated single mother. I had an amazing friend who bent over backwards for me all the time.
This week I got a call that he’d been hit by a truck. I went to the hospital with his friend and that’s when my life was turned upside down. As we talked the web of lies he’d been feeding us began to unravel. For two years, he’s been stalking me. He did not have cancer. He never had a fiancé and daughter that were killed in an accident. His house did not burn down. The police tell us that they think he was preparing to molest our daughters. They are now considering him a person of interest in my cousin’s death. He has warrants out for his arrest. I had this monster in my home.
This week I don't recognize myself. I don’t want to help or trust anyone ever again. I look around at my friends and I don’t know who any of them are. I see his face everywhere. I can’t stop shaking. I’m watching myself build a wall around me and I can’t stop it. All I can do is use my voice and share my story, even as I’m lost in the turmoil of this disaster. He can’t take my voice from me.