Rescue Fund: Wise County mother, children start over with nothing but each other

Published: December 4, 2005 | 2907th good news item since 2003

“Dee” had a comfortable life in another state with her three children and a man who made a good living running his own contracting business. Then, she said, he fell in with drugs and a rowdy crowd, and everything fell apart.

Eight months ago, she finally fled what she described as an intolerable relationship. [Victim of Love?: How You Can Break the Cycle of Bad Relationships]

Dee was pregnant with her fourth child when she had enough and left a life that had spiraled deep into desperation and despair. Her children include a 12-year-old from a previous marriage and a 4-year-old, 16-month-old and 2-month-old.

Dee’s parents are both deceased. Her only immediate relative is a cousin “who is like a sister to me,” she said, because they were raised together in a rural part of Southwest Virginia.

“She is the only family I’ve got left. I had nowhere to go, but she knew what to do because she is studying to be a social worker,” Dee said.

The Department of Social Services in Virginia set up Dee with an apartment, rental assistance and food stamps – the sort of official family assistance she never dreamed she would ever need.

To complicate matters was a difficult pregnancy, the car transmission went kaput, and as if there haven’t been enough blows to endure, now Dee has been diagnosed with cervical cancer. [When Bad Things Happen to Good People]

And yet, the 31-year-old doesn’t wallow in a woe-is-me pity party. Because with her children, she hasn’t the time or, for that matter, inclination.

“I’ve had social workers to help me find furniture. I’ve had friends to go down to get as much of my stuff as we could get. I’ve had friends and neighbors and churches to just come out of the woodwork to help get things we needed,” she said. “My cousin helps get practically everything I need for the baby. She’s been as close to a sister as I’ve got. We’re getting it back together now, but it’s been real hard. Now there’s this stage 3 cervical cancer. I’ve just went through a lot in the last eight months. In the last two years I lost both my parents. And I had everything – a nice home, nice things, everything. And ended up losing it all.

“The biggest thing I tell everyone is, once you have enough (of an abusive relationship) you walk away. But until you do, you can’t. It’s been kind of hard, but we’re making it. You know, the kids are starting to do good. The baby’s here. Just being scared is the biggest part of it.”

Her ex-husband served several months in jail as a result of the abuse. Part of his probation is he cannot step foot in Virginia. He violated that requirement and is back in jail in the other state, Dee said.

“There’s a 24-month protective order in effect now, and he’s not supposed to come into this state, but he did and that’s why he’s back in jail. I would love to see the man as he once was. It would be great if he could be that person again, if nothing else, for the kids.

“I grew up not having a whole lot and ended up having it and now, losing it. We had a nice, beautiful home and a beautiful relationship. Then just everything messed up. I wanted to tough it out and thought it would get better. But it never did. It just got worse.”

Dee said her children are her top priority.

“My children are everything to me,” she said. “I’m glad I’ve got them because without them, I’d have lost my sanity. For them is why I’m hanging in there. I don’t have time to feel sorry for me. Maybe that’s why God gave me this cancer is to give me something to fight and put everything else into perspective. I already know what to fight for, and that’s my children.”

More than 1,000 families in a six-county region of Tennessee and Virginia will receive assistance from the Rescue Fund this year. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Times-News Rescue Fund, P.O. Box 479, Kingsport, Tenn. 37662.

More than $42,000 was expended from the fund last year.

Published in Aid, Life
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