Kennedy's Story: Turning Pain Into Strength
“Just a small town girl living in a lonely( big) world.” Growing up in a small town wasn’t always easy. Americus, Georgia, had a Walmart, a church on every corner, and the usual fast food joints; everyone knew everyone. I was from Castongia, one of the most known families in that town. I went to school with all the kids I had known since I was in diapers. My mom had set records for swimming years before and was in nursing school at the time. My dad was a star baseball player in high school and was now the go-to handyman, “Handy Andy." He could fix anything. With all this being said, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who were also very well known. My grandmother cooked and cleaned at the local church, so I was there every day. I turned the pews into a playground, and my grandfather would play right by my side. "Doug, stop making her sequel so loud; I would hear my grandmother say, You two will wake the dead.” I loved playing with my papa; I was his peanut buddy, and he was my safe place. My family sheltered me more than most because I was so little, but my papal was my shelter, not them. One night, just another family sleepover, changed my life forever. “Doug! Wake up!” Nana exclaimed from the other side of the house. It was just a dream, I thought to myself, but then again, there was an unusual silence. Then a voice broke the silence: "Becky, get up now; your dad won't move, and I don’t think he’s breathing. I need your help!” The whole room busted into a sudden whirlwind; blankets were thrown, feet were going faster than ever, and it was all so much. A younger me sat in her granddaddy’s chair with her favorite teddy bear and just watched. The screaming of sirens rang out in the distance, the door was busted in, and several men rushed in with some kind of bed on wheels. “Mommy?” my little voice rang out in the whirlwind of people. Mom rushed in to pick me up and hide my face, to hide me from the pain that was to come. But it was too late. There he was, hooked up to machines, on that strange bed with wheels, his brown eyes fading, my shelter crumbling. “I love you, peanut buddy,” he mouthed, or so I thought, five little words that rang out to me that night and the words I still hear in my dreams. I looked out a window, and the world was crying with me. Nana moved in with us after that night. For seven years, my Nana lived with us; she became my best friend after Papal, my babysitter when the parents weren’t home, and my shelter from the crazy world. Every day after school, we watched Full House. We would sing the theme and laugh together. I can still sing the theme word for word. One rainy night, my mom was taken into the hospital for her gallbladder, and Nana was left at home with us kids. I was lying in bed, and there was that silence again, then Ring, Ring, Ring The phone was ringing, and there was a baby crying. With sleep in my eyes, I made my way downstairs to wake Nana. "Nana, are you up? I need your help with Drew; he’s crying.” No response. In the darkness, I saw a figure sitting up. I turned on the light to find Nana sitting, turning blue, not breathing. As fast as I could, I ran to her. She had a pulse, thank God, I thought. I ran to her room, which seemed miles away. My legs were made of lead, but I grabbed her oxygen tank and ran back as fast as a girl made of lead could. “Come on, Nana, stay alive; that would be enough.” She kept fighting me, yanking the mask off. "Doug, I want to see Doug, she muttered, but I wouldn’t let her. I kept fighting to put the mask back on and hit the alarm medical alert button, then a knock on the back door. I jumped and looked out into the black night to see a familiar face, Aunt Jen. Kennedy, honey, get the boys upstairs. Out of the way, the ambulance is down the street. I grabbed one boy in each arm and tried to carry them up the stairs, but fell. I shielded their eyes as the door was pushed in and a tornado of strange men and sounds came in. I saved her that night, or at least that’s what the doctors said. Soon after my Nana was hospitalized, she passed away. My mom later started to fade away as well; she developed severe depression and an addiction. Day to day, the light from her eyes dimmed, and soon she faced near death as well. Watching all this covered my eyes in darkness, and all I could see from then on was darkness. By the age of thirteen, I was cutting my skin like paper and wishing death would greet me as it did so many of my loved ones. After my grandmother passed, my mother began to struggle with addiction, and things became difficult in our relationship. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggled to cope with depression, just like her, so we butted heads a ton. Sometimes it was verbal fights, sometimes physical. I was in and out of behavioral hospitals and jail most of my teenage life, but thanks to my family, I eventually got the help I needed. Both my moms made sure to take care of me, and the pain slowly turned to strength. Life hasn’t always been easy; it’s had its ups and downs.
At age 18, I had my last major bipolar episode and attacked my bonus mother. I was put in jail for a week; my grandmother was the one to come bail me out, and I moved across the state to live with her. I enrolled in college, got a job, and had little contact with my family for about six months, and that really hurt, so I did everything the court ordered to see my sister and brothers.
Today I am a 23-year-old mother of one beautiful son, free of self-harm for over three years, happily married, manager of Luv Car Wash, and I have the best relationship with my mother(s) I ever had!
I am a beautiful disaster and still standing! That is also my fav collection!!