||I am the author of Secrets On Emma's Porch. I worked as the Statewide Pro Bono Coordinator for Kansas Legal Services (KLS) until June of 2012 when I suffered a pulmonary embolism, going non-responsive in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and spending 2 days in ICU and another week in the hospital. I was unable to return to work due to my health issues. I loved my job. I was responsible for finding free legal assistance for low income Kansans, victims of domestic abuse and our military veterans.
I am the mother of two children, Jim and Katy. Jim passed away in 2004 of an aneurysm of the ascending aorta. The coroner's report showed he had Marfan Syndrome. He passed away at the age of 24 but through his generous organ donation, over 70 lives were changed. Jim was kind hearted, generous, funny and lived life to the fullest. No parent should outlive their child. Katy is 28 and the mother of a beautiful little boy named Titan. He is 17 months old. It was always my son that wanted a family and I was so surprised when she announced she was pregnant. Titan has been a breath of fresh air and has truly brought so much joy into our lives. They lived in Denver until December of 2012 when they moved to Kansas. She felt she should be closer to family since my Chronic Kidney Failure had gone to a high Stage 3 and my other health issues had brought me to the point of being at home and no longer employed.
I was married to my first husband for 22 years. In 1995 I found the courage to file for divorce and the children and I moved to the home I live in now. It is a far cry from what they were used to but it was a fresh start and by being able to purchase it, I gained a feeling of independence, something I had not felt for so many years. Without the income I once had, the house needs TLC and we are taking baby steps in home improvements. Not long ago someone called me out when I began to talk about the things I wanted to do to update our home. His response was "Why would you do that? This place is a piece of crap." Well,it might be but it means independence and I was able to call it mine from the day I moved in. My children could have friends over and there was always laughter inside these walls. Also, I can stand on the front deck and see the cemetery on the hilltop a mile away. My son is buried in that cemetery. We watched over one another in life and I feel we continue to do so now. I am not sure it would be an easy transition to leave this place.
Jim passed away in July of 2004 and Katy left that September to attend the Art Institute in Denver. My nest was emptier than I had ever imagined so I began to write. My book is written as fiction and it contains graphic subject matter regarding domestic abuse. I felt I should not portray it any other way than graphic because there is nothing warm and fuzzy about it. The book not only deals with this subject content but also how a mother deals with the loss of her son and her own terminal illness. It was a way of healing but it has also brought some rocky moments into our lives.
Sadly, the book was self published and poorly edited. Local sales were good and I had some book signings including one at the Topeka Barnes and Noble. My hopes of being able to put a portion of proceeds toward the Marfan Foundation and setting something for victims of domestic abuse and their families has not gone as I had hoped due to low sales.
I did not want this to be a sob story but I did want you to know more about me and how I came to watch your show. Now that I am at home, your show has brought a breath of fresh air into this house at 4:00 each afternoon. Granted, my family brings me continued joy but your optimistic outlook on life and your good deeds is what keeps me watching. I felt I was living life for not only myself but also for Jim when I was helping clients. I worked with the local rescue mission through a program called Topeka Moving Ahead Program as well as my position as Statewide Pro Bono Coordinator. Providing assistance to those less fortunate made me feel as if I was living life for both Jim and myself and "we" were doing what was meant to be. Losing that position and in the way I lost it was difficult. I now want to find volunteer work either at the rescue mission or with veterans. I am also in hopes I can continue to give occasional presentations to victims and to those less fortunate through local programs.
I did remarry in 1999 and my husband has been kind enough to share his family with me. His grandchildren call me Grandma and his family treats me and my family as if we were their own. They took my children in, making them feel loved and accepted. More people should be this way and not make a big deal out of whether people are blood related or not. They have been such a blessing. When my husband had a heart attack this past May, they were there not only for him but for me. And Katy? She immediately rushed to the hospital which meant a lot. It showed me she loves her step-dad. I know it meant the world to him after all he has done for her over the years and he loves her so much.
I have certainly rambled on way too long in this category "about me" and yet I feel there is so much more I want to tell you. Your warmth makes me feel like we are old friends catching up.
On that note, I will close and say one final thank you. May you continue to be filled with love and kindness and may success and happiness be with you and yours always.