Life is Like a Big River

Publisher’s Note: Below is an amazing story of survival, hope and strength. It comes fromĀ a student I taught in the late 1970s. It shows how lives that are very difficult can turn out beautiful…and points to the importance of seeking help in the darkness.

When I was in my second year of college I tried to commit suicide. I was clinically depressed from the age of 13 on, I still have my diaries where I discuss trying to commit suicide, but I it snowballed in college…..I was lucky to find an amazing therapist, who saved me. We became friends after I left St. Louis and I stayed in touch with her up until her death five years ago. I actually flew out to see her just weeks before she passed away from lung cancer. She was a wonderful friend and I still miss her.

I know now, that having absentee parents truly contributed to my spiral and I was pretty much alone growing up. My parents divorced in 1968 and my father re-married and then sort of disappeared from my life. My mother was and is an alcoholic. She re-married when I was 17. She married a man who is a bully and just a mean hateful person, and very controlling. When I was young, I remember seeing a glass of vodka in her medicine cabinet every morning. I just thought that was normal.

On one hand I am glad my meltdown happened when I was in college because it re-shaped my life and made me a fighter. I have been very blessed to have a successful career, a solid marriage to a man who is my best friend, and two amazing daughters who think I am the bomb! They are both my best friends as well….and we have an amazing relationship. So in the end, my experience, the lows and the climbing back up from the darkness to venture out in the world, made me who I am today and made me a better parent, mother, wife….person.

I always say, that life is like a big river….the water in the river is constantly moving. Some times you get caught in an eddy, or hit some rapids, fly over a waterfall….but then you get to a smooth calm bend in the river and the journey is all bliss….but no matter what the river keeps moving and you never know what will be around the next turn.


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