Each year, I am amazed how seemingly fragile daffodils find a way to bloom in the frozen ground of winter. The bulbs taking root weeks before the stems first appear through the snow – standing tall in defiance of the harsh climate.
That is the imagery I am left with as I reflect on my conversation with Ms. Murray. A gentle, soft-spoken woman, Ms. Murray found a way to root, blossom and stand strong in spite of the once harsh circumstances of her life.
Ms. Murray endured a harsh winter season early in life. Born to parents who were active substance users, she was given to her grandmother as a young child. While her basic needs were met, her grandmother had other priorities, leaving Ms. Murray feeling unwanted and “a burden.” Compounding her childhood stress was a grandfather who was abusive and inappropriate.
“I did not feel like my mother cared about me or could care for me,” she explains. As for my grandparents, asking for a dollar to go to the store brought on difficult circumstances.
As a young adult, Ms. Murray married and had a daughter, Jody. Although the marriage ended, she worked hard to provide a loving, secure home for her daughter.
“I just knew I needed someone to talk to,” explained Ms. Murray. “My daughter and I did not get along. She was an angry child, acting out at home and school. By the age of five, I knew I had to find her help.”
As Jody grew, life did not get easier. “I got to a place where I needed to put her out of the house, but she was young and had nowhere to go. Knowing the pain of abandonment, “I could not do that to her.”
Ms. Murray did seek counseling at two other organizations prior to coming to Mosaic, but “I did not stay with it. It never felt right.”
When Ms. Murray came to Mosaic for Jody, everything began to get better. Ms. Christine, Jody’s counselor, is wonderful. It has not been easy, but today Jody and I have a good relationship. She has come a long way. I’m proud of her.”
Ms. Murray continued, “I should say, Mosaic would not let us go. Every time we missed an appointment or we did not hold up our end, someone from Mosaic called us. I am so glad they kept at me.”
Today, Ms. Murray and both daughters, Jody and Cassidy, participate in counseling at Mosaic and are part of Mosaic’s Child and Adolescent In-Home Rehabilitation Program. This program provides in-home psychotherapy and case management support. “Ms. Christine and Ms. Delilah (counselor) are so great. They meet us at home, at Mosaic, at school – anywhere we need them.”
Ms. Murray, diagnosed with depression, says she is a work in progress. “I am still learning to believe in myself,” she says. “I used to think I wanted to do something, but I would tell myself I would not be good at it, so I never stayed with anything. I don’t want that for my girls.” Ms. Murray feels she has a job, but not a career. “I don’t like it, but I need the work,” she explains.
“Right now, I am struggling with what it means to honor my mother. Ms. Delilah and I talk a lot about that,” she says. “She (my mother) needs my help, but it’s hard.”
Today, Mr. Murray stands strong. She has created loving, secure home and is a positive role model for her daughters. “I had to learn how to communicate with my girls. We have learned how to express ourselves, especially Cassidy, my baby. It has changed everything for us. I just did not know how to communicate with them, how to see life in their shoes.”
With great courage to listen to her inner voice to find help, Ms. Murray has broken through the winter season of her life and found happiness in building a strong family. While the story for Jody and Cassidy are just beginning, I cannot help but believe it will be a great story, filled with much love and accomplishments.