Stacey speaks about the realities in her childhood:
After hearing about the Texas factory tragedy, I revamped a portion from my book donating it to a charitable book; I hope my excerpt in April Rains anthology helps people find the silver lining of hope. My goal is to show people the light at the end of their dark tunnel of suffering and losses. I hope my tale is a highlight during their cloudy mourning.
I lost two sets of parents before age 10 and went to live with my aunt. She inherited me and all my anger. Thank GOD that He sent her help including through a few rose petals. When a groundskeeper at a resort delivered those flowers, my aunt had a revelation of hope to share. In the April Rains anthology, when you read my anecdote from my childhood, you’ll understand the significance those flowers held; they helped me cope with my new life and family. I took that special delivery of roses as a sign from my deceased mother that life was still worth living.
Excerpt from Stacey’s Song & the S.H.E. Anthology
By: Stacey Meyers
Many people came to my rescue taking me on trips to the Bahamas, Minnesota, and other ports of call. However, joy eluded me. Grief caused enormous stress on my weary soul making me incapable of enjoying life. A rest at a tropical island paradise was my aunt’s solution to our anxiety. Even though I didn’t realize it, she really needed to escape to fantasy land. Thus, her husband, my Uncle Mike, booked my new family a room at South Seas Plantation on the west coast of Florida. Actually, this was our second beach vacation since I arrived because we visited Key West during our spring break about a year before.
We left for this trip in the middle of July while the usual rain clouds blanketed the eastern and the western sky. They collided borrowing their water from every ocean, sea, and lake in the vicinity. As the day wore on, the clouds sank so heavy with vapor that precipitation occurred. In Florida, the one thing you can count on is the afternoon showers. The rain comes at you from seemingly all sides so thickly that you can’t see past your extended hand. As we drove through this storm towards our vacation destination, it raged no more than an hour. That’s another fact about torrential rain.
As lightning surrounded us and electricity filled the air, my peers worried about the thunder that roared with the fury of all ages. Thunder always followed the bolts of light. Counting from the time we viewed each flash to the time the thunder sounded, we knew about how many miles away the worst of the storm prevailed. Each count equaled about a mile.
“One, two,” Julie whispered. “It’s getting closer,” She giggled out of fright.
“Will the lightning hurt us, mommy?” Jenny questioned.
“Only if it hits the ground,” I guaranteed her.
“Actually, the rubber in the tires won’t conduct the electricity so we are safer in the car,” Daddy explained as he pulled under a bridge for more protection.
“Lightning is the angels getting strikes at their bowling alleys. They flash the lights in celebration. The thunder is the sound of the ball knocking over the pins and the pins crashing to the floor,” Our mother spoke up to calm fears.
“Why do they only bowl when it rains?” Jenny inquired.
“Someone said that it rains because the angels left the water running in their showers, and it is overflowing to Earth,” Julie continued the conversation.
“Maybe, they were so excited about bowling that they just forgot the water was running,” I added.
“Does anyone ever see their guardian angel?” Jenny was inquisitive while her mom was probably glad that her mind was on Heavenly creatures instead of the real danger.
“I suppose they do,” She responded.
“Mom, you saw Jesus when Grandma died right?” Julie reminded us of that tale.
“Well, I didn’t see Him with my eyes but I felt Him in my heart,” She reminisced. “I knew in my mind’s eye that He was present.”
“But, you told me He was all light and shinny!” Julie argued.
“Actually, there was an extremely beautiful ray of light coming off the baby-blue sky at the moment that my mother left this world to her coma. It shimmered through the open draped window. I believe the Lord arrived on that elevator of light.” My aunt’s explanation continued.
Not amused and weary of the discussion, our dad continued the car trip as though the torrential downpour ended. He figured that the worst of it was over, and he acted eager to reach the west coast of Florida for his relaxation and vacation. Eventually, we out ran the showers but the talk of Heaven did not end as quickly as the rain did.
Our journey continued as my role as the lost sheep brought anger to my soul, again. It arrived as fresh as day one. I was still too young to understand why my parent’s died before I graduated high school. They wouldn’t be there when I married. All this talk of angels caused an abyss of silence between the rest of my family and me. My soul reluctantly fled to internal conversations.
Later, as we checked in to our resort and unpacked the car, I moped around instead of being helpful. Once in our room, I marched over to the couch, clicked on the television, and planted my feet on the coffee table. Meanwhile, my two cousins, Julie and Jenny, raced to pick out beds and changed into their bathing suits. One other fact about Florida summers is that after the rainbow you always get an almost cloud free sunset. They headed out to splash in the Gulf of Mexico before the night invaded this first day of our vacation.
“Don’t you want to swim, too?” Aunt Cindy prodded me.
“Want to go look around?” Cindy held out the olive branch because she really needed me to join instead of disrupting her family. However, I enjoyed intimidating my peers. In these crowded quarters, my current behavior helped my aunt envision the worst.
“What do you want to do?” She continued.
“Leave this place and go home!” My voice bellowed belligerently. “Why did you bring me on YOUR family vacation, anyway?”
My role in this family was that of the grouch. So, Cindy simply set about unpacking food into the refrigerator then exited to the balcony. Arriving just in time, she viewed three frolicking dolphins near the water’s edge. Then, my aunt spotted her two fish dancing on the beach. Their daddy snorkeled barely aware of the dolphins or his daughters. Eventually, he returned to shore with a handful of sand dollars and a big smile. His girls gathered around. Then, Julie pointed at the gulf in the direction the dolphins vanished. With excitement, Julie gets very busy behavior. My aunt knew from a distance that this environment enchanted her daughter because Julie pranced with the wind. Meanwhile, Jenny and her daddy sat on a towel counting the minutes to sundown. As for me, I remained well rooted in self pity complaining about the lack of cable in this expensive room.
The next day, Uncle Mike and I rode a jet ski in the Gulf of Mexico. Somehow, he and I interacted well while all his wife did with me was fight. Was she really the big bad step-mother? Or, was something else going on between us? The grief counselor she forced me to see told her that I probably resented our mother’s death refusing to buy into another mother figure. Meanwhile, my dad had been mentally ill and very cruel. Thus, I was most likely glad to finally find a father figure. Who cares why I went jet skiing willingly; I tagged along enjoying a great ride.
While we were off on our adventure, the girls and Cindy journeyed to the community pool. My new family spent time here before this summer. They always enjoyed Captiva Island and its sea. Today, the only thing enjoyable centered on breaking the calm Gulf of Mexico on a wave runner built for two.
At lunch time, my family visited a restaurant where casual clothes were required and frowns were not allowed. Fans cooled the atmosphere pushing the tropical ocean breezes among us. Although the sun sweltered, this shaded eatery remained balmy. However, shaded feelings and gloom still haunted my soul. One of the waiters attempted comedy. Even I smiled when he pretended to fall and shoot fake mustard at Uncle Mike. He entertained us. However, my mirth was short lived.
Walking back to our condominium, we decided to explore some resort shops. Julie pulled out a shirt with a boat full of manatees crashing into some helpless people. Checking the price, her mom offered to purchase it because my cousin’s environmental passion included saving that species. Jenny found a cute pair of sunglasses and matching hat, which fit Cindy’s pocket book as well. Looking for a den piece, my uncle found a turtle nesting sculpture. Meanwhile, a shopping spree enticed my interest. When I arrived to the cash register laden with a volume of self indulgences, the mean step-mother made me take back everything except a T-shirt. Turning abruptly, I stomped away taking forever to return to the front of the small quaint gift store.
“It must be hard to go from a situation where grandma and grandpa over compensated her with unbridled shopping sprees to living in our family that economizes,” Cindy tried to explain my attitude to her natural children. They witnessed my almost daily outbursts. “Stacey isn’t used to sharing with two other children. She doesn’t realize if she weren’t here you might have gotten more, too. All she sees is what she didn’t get to purchase. It’s the same sixty dollars but instead of getting thirty each you all get twenty. You’ve sacrificed too because your grandparents died but she is too young to understand anyone else’s suffering.” If I waited with them in line perhaps I might have seen the incredible suffering my aunt hid. She, too, lost her parents and tried to make me a part of her family. However, I made her job close to unbearable.
My uncle became tired of my temper tantrum. “It’s my siesta time!” He proudly announced. On vacations, nap time was a necessary activity; jet skiing competed for his most favorite part of the ocean resort. His morning full of wave riding, lunch, and shopping prompted his rhetorical question, “Can you tend to the children alone? I want to catch the trolley to our room and get some Zs.”
Nodding in the affirmative, my aunt finished browsing with us. I spent the rest of this time avoiding her while we explored the town’s fare. Eventually, we ended our walking tour and caught the next trolley. As we sat on a bench at the entrance to our resort, a gardener from the complex arrived in our midst. You could hear his lawn mower over the sounds of birds singing and children’s pleasure on the nearby beach. Then, his engine halted as he lunged in our direction. In his grasp were four roses that he handed to the girls, their mom, and me.
“Thank-you,” The three of them gestured and spoke simultaneously as my nose sniffed at the rose in my hand. He rode off too quickly to hear our murmuring.
“Look! We all got different colors,” Jenny pointed out.
“Wonder how that guy knew to bring exactly four roses?” Julie wondered aloud.
“Yeah, and they are all different colors!” Aunt Cindy added.
“Where are the four rose bushes where he picked these?” Julie questioned in amazement.
We looked everywhere but could find no bushes to match our flowers. Next, Cindy took charge of the explanation, “That man must have been sent by Heaven. Only God would know to tell him to pick exactly four flowers. He would guide the gardener to us. Then, He would control just who got each color.”
Julie began her excitement prance. Jenny’s eyes widened. My eyes made contact with my aunt from behind the rose still perched at my nose. Her explanation affected all of us. Suddenly, my soul was connecting with hers. I could feel her grief and her joy combined as it surrounded me.
“Look, Stacey got the yellow rose that signifies sunshine. Surely, the message is for her to leave her gloom behind and enjoy her new family as well as this vacation. She has the right to be sunny and warm. God is telling her to be happy and enjoy her new life. It’s time to live again, Stacey. Come out of your gloom of despair!” My aunt’s voice swelled like a wave on the shore.
Why is mine pink?” Jenny inquired.
You are girly, and pink equals that!”
Why is mine red?” Julie wondered.
“It is a strong color, and you are athletic,” He mom thought aloud.
She rambled more but her speech was interrupted by the trolley bell beckoning us to board.
When we looked back from the trolley car, the lawns were mowed, the gardening staff retreated, and the rose bushes evaded our view.
“That’s it!” As if a sudden revelation hit my soul, I interrupted the trolley’s bell. “This rose was sent by God and my mother. They want me to be happy.”
Meanwhile, my aunt’s three colored rose carried the message that we could merge into one beautiful whole. She anticipated the possibility of becoming one lovely flowering rose as a real family.
Later, on that very same vacation, all the girls in our family rode tandem bikes around the island. At first, I attempted to ride with the youngest, Jenny. However, that spelled disaster, so I partnered with Julie. As we rode ahead of Jenny and my new mom, our pace glided steadier and smoother until we blended into one unit. On this vacation, I learned cooperation and sharing as I adjusted to my new family situation.
When the bereavement counselor told my Aunt Cindy that it could take three to five years for me to work through my anger and finish my mourning, she bellowed, “Good grief, that’s forever!” On this vacation, I managed one step towards recovery, and a small flower inspired me to shift from solitude to community.
My story is twenty years in the making. Today, I’m a young woman with a husband and 2 children. Until age 10, I was raised by my maternal grandparents; they literally adopted me. My aunt, Cindy, inherited me after our mom died of breast cancer; and our dad committed suicide. My struggle to readjust to life is in my book Stacey’s Song. After the Sandy Hook Massacre, my full story or book was donated to the S.H.E Anthology to help mental health agencies specializing in children’s issues like I encountered due to my PTSD. Now, I’m sharing a part of that tale with you through this new anthology.
My author link is at http://mchanson714.weebly.com/the-girls.html
The blogger’s main author page is @ WEEBLY, you can find many nonfiction uplifting books there.
AMAZON author site http://www.amazon.com/Mrs.-Cynthia-Meyers-Hanson/e/B00B28J7L2
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