To the Church,
Hello, I am writing on behalf of family #4 that you helped at Christmas. I think it is important for the church to not only hear how incredibly grateful we are but our story.
I am a Registered Nurse, and in Feb 2012 we moved into a new building at work and I became very sick from the formaldehyde fumes from the new carpeting. It chemically burned my lungs and took 5 months to stabilize my respiratory system on 4 times a day nebulizer treatments for increased asthma attacks. It also left me with extreme hypersensitivity to perfumes, exhaust, smoke, cleaning and personal products. I had to wear an N 95 carbon mask when I left my house. You have probably seen me around town. I had to have special exhaust fans, furnace, and hot water heater etc., put in my house because I could not handle the gas fumes afterwards. No one knew what was wrong with me, I had to leave the state to find an environmental doctor. I still am on injections every 7 weeks. I went through my 401 K, IRA, savings, fought workers compensation, social security disability, and human rights commission. Did you know that injured Alaskan’s only receive disability 14% of the time, compared to all other states who approve it 48-66% of the time? I went through lawyers who couldn’t compete with employer’s high priced firms. All the agencies who were supposed to help did not, after working 30 years as a nurse helping others. If it was not for my Christian friends, Love Inc. Food Banks etc. I could not have survived. And I mean that literally, I would have committed suicide. Because during that same time period, my middle daughter in Florida was diagnosed with breast cancer that subsequently spread. My younger daughter became a heroin addict and my grandchildren were taken away. For the past year and a half I have been raising the 3 year old while the father raises the 11 and 6 year old.
So needless to say this was the first time in my whole life (I have worked and gone to school since 17) that I could not buy a Christmas present for my grandchildren. Before this, I always have taken them to church, we have volunteered at the Thanksgiving Blessing and other ways, with them, because I thought it important that they learn how important giving to others is for us as Christians. This year too, I turned it into a life lesson. I had already told them I would not be able to given them Christmas this year. We volunteered as usual and tried to make things out of whatever we had.
When the Head Start people called me to come get the presents, I was so overwhelmed I cried and I am not a crier. It was not just the presents and the amount of presents, (boxes of them), it was the care that was given in wrapping them so beautifully. In fact the 6 year old was so touched, he didn’t even want to open them because he didn’t want to mess them up and begged me to save the wrapping paper and bows. That was so thoughtful because I wouldn’t have had the money to buy wrapping paper! You could see they were wrapped with love!
These kids were so in awe that complete strangers that didn’t even know us would do something this “unimportant”. I mean it wasn’t food because we were hungry. It was presents for kids, a luxury, not a needed or necessary thing. They were so used to hearing the difference between wanting and needing something we didn’t have the money for. They just sat there stunned in silence and just started at all those presents and kept looking at me trying to comprehend. As they did I said to them remember all the times we did things to help others, well this is what it felt like for them to receive it. This Christmas you know how it feels to be the receiver of the Church’s love. So my grandchildren had the benefit of learning the true meaning of Christmas in a very real way. That will be something that we never forget. Every Christmas that comes from now on, we will remember this Christmas and when we can help again someday, it will take on new meaning. It was a priceless gift to me as a grandmother.
I cannot thank the Church enough for your generosity. I know someday soon I will get well enough to help again. God does not allow us to go through these things for no reason. I have been a Christian long enough to know that. But it doesn’t stop the pain of going through it. I had decided I never wanted to be in the medical profession again because when I needed help I couldn’t get it. Then God sent an army of Christians to my defense. I have always been a loner, a single parent for 16 years, the oldest in my family, always helping others, working, going to school, volunteering, but aloof. That so many people would reach out to me and love me anyways has been a humbling experience that restored my faith. I do not know what journey the Lord has for me in the future, but now I look forward to whatever he has planned. Thank you doesn’t even begin to say it.
To God Be the Glory,
(Name withheld to protect privacy)
Inside of thank you card, written by her grandchildren: