Friday, June 29, 2007

A Tale of Two Women - The Final Chapter

Claudia and her family have been living in a completely different household with her husband being clean and sober for nearly two years. Their relationship has grown so much, and their sense of calmness and closeness has been unbelievable. Their household now operates from a more serene and somewhat structured lifestyle, which makes visiting them more enjoyable for everyone. Their son’s demeanor has improved greatly. He doesn’t seem nearly as hyper. Although they still continue to argue occasionally it’s not nearly as severe or volatile as in the past. Clint is doing a much better job in saving money and therefore improving the quality of their lives. There still remains at times contention between Clint and Claudia over whether Claudia will work or not. Clint no longer feels Claudia needs to work to support the family because of their new fiscal management, however, he feels it would be good for Claudia to get out and do something to stimulate her brain. He believes it would help her with her bi-polar condition to be more active than sitting alone at home which can often times be a place where your mind can run rampant. However, on the other hand he likes that Claudia is available whenever he wants to pack up their truck and camper and go on a road trip.

Claudia’s mother is now spending her time traveling between her three children that live in the states, and then returning to Mexico to visit with her other son and friends. Of course the family worries about her being a widow and now her mom passing not long ago, and not really having too many siblings of her own left, so they all manage to care for her. Claudia’s mother is the most dynamic lady Deanna has ever met. She is the epidemy of a lady in her eyes.

Deanna returned to the states saddened at leaving Aly, but so wonderfully delighted to be home with her daughter. Upon seeing each other in the airport their eyes widened and they ran into one another’s arms and hugged for a long time. They were so delighted to see one another.

Deanna immediately contacted an immigration attorney to find out what she and Aly’s options were for getting him into the country. The attorney advised her that believe it or not it was faster to get him in the country through a fiancée visa than it was through a marriage visa, and that it was less strenuous in its filing. In the preparation of compiling all of their supporting documentation and building a case to submit to immigration for their fiancée petition it was suspected that Adam had fraudulently used Deanna’s identity in order to obtain access back into the country. With this newfound news, Deanna was devastated. Why couldn’t this guy just go away? Hadn’t he caused enough hardship in her life? The immigration attorney gave her instruction on how to obtain a copy of the alleged file, but told Deanna it would take 6 to 12 months before they would have any information on the file, to which Deanna nearly came unglued. After all the years that Adam had been harassing, threatening her and her daughter’s life, and causing them so much hell, he was still trying to cause Deanna and her daughter pain by possibly filing fraudulent documents with immigration. When would the madness ever end?

Do Clint and Claudia stay married?
Does Clint fall off the wagon and start drinking and/or using drugs again?

Do Deanna and Claudia ever become close friends?
Does Deanna ever stop crying - as she seems to cry over everything?

Does Deanna ever say anything to her parents?
Do Deanna and Aly continue to proceed forward in their relationship? Or do they decide it’s too difficult a task to get through with the continued roadblocks?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Tale of Two - A Mini Series, XVII

The clock stuck 12:15 p.m. and the security desk phone rang to which Deanna jumped. The guard instructed her that ‘they’ would see her now, and directed her to yet another secured area where she was escorted upstairs. Once she arrived at her destined floor she existed the elevator and was told to go to her left which appeared to be a big room with lots of chairs that were occupied by no one. She was told to take a number ticket and wait for her number to show on the lit billboard. She found this most laughable because she was the only one there, however she did what she was instructed to do and sat patiently waiting for her number to appear on the lighted billboard. Merely minutes had passed but it seemed more like days before her number lit up on the billboard. She quickly approached the window where she had been previously instructed to go when it was her turn. There was a gentleman there who welcomed her to the counter and asked how he could help her. She explained her story yet again with tears in her eyes because this was all taking too long. He immediately become uncomfortable and ran to get a woman to talk with her. In light of all this Deanna found it so funny how the men reacted at seeing a woman cry. The woman came over to the window and asked how she could be of assistance, and again Deanna explained her situation. The woman told her she was sorry she was experiencing such difficulty and unfortunately what needed to be done was that Deanna needed to send her certified copy of her divorce papers to the U.S. Government for them in turn to send a request to the state she received her divorce from and then for them to contact the court to legitimize her certified copy of divorce papers as authentic. Deanna could not believe her ears. That was the most absurd thing she had ever heard. She obtained these certified divorce papers directly from the court, eliminating the need for the middle people, the U.S. government and the State government. Deanna argued her case and fully knew she was arguing her case before the wrong person, but the woman graciously listened to her anyway. Deanna had explained how she and her fiancee had already done their research and obtained authentic information for the officials as to what they needed in order to get married just in case they decided to get married after meeting. They wanted to be as prepared as possible because if they did decide to marry they knew traveling for Deanna back and forth was not realistic, and therefore were trying to be proactive in their attempt. The woman understood and told Deanna she had an Affidavit form they could fill out and notarize which essentially was a declaration on Deanna’s part indicating she had a right to marry because she was either single, divorced or widowed. The lady told her she understood it was ridiculous but she had seen it work for some others in the past to meet the court’s requirement, but there was no guarantee. Deanna didn’t care she agreed to purchase this affidavit. She thanked the people for their time and fled as quickly as she could to get to Aly so they could now go have this document translated into Arabic and then to the courthouse before 2:00 p.m. Once Deanna got to Aly they literally began running out to get to the car while Deanna explained what happened and the document she was now holding. Aly started the car and they began to speed down the road to the translator’s office. They turned the corner and there stood traffic at a standstill to which they both looked at the clock and realized it was nearly 1:30 p.m. There was no way they were going to make it to the translator’s office have the document translated and get to the courthouse within 30 minutes because traffic was literally at a standstill. They both put their heads down in defeat. When traffic began to move they drove in silence, and continued to drive in silence for nearly an hour. Both not knowing what to say, both bewildered by the blockages that continued to be thrown in their way, both feeling so helpless. Struggling between logically understanding God was ultimately in charge of everything and emotionally feeling upset because they didn’t want it to be this way. They knew they loved one another, they knew their intentions for one another were pure, they knew they had done all their homework, double checked their answers and prepared accordingly, and yet none of these things seemed to matter at this moment. They just knew she was returning to the states in two days and they were not legally married. Aly finally as almost thinking out loud said, "I don’t understand this country. They let Russians in here to serve as prostitutes, profit from their business and yet talk about how prostitution is sinful, and yet here we have two people that love Allah, love each other, want nothing more than to be married and they can’t. It just doesn’t seem fair." Deanna agreed with Aly. She also shared that in spite of all the obstacles God was the greatest. She believed there must be another way, but that God hadn’t revealed it to them yet. That they needed to hold steadfast to their trust and faith in God and He’d open the doors to them, which Aly agreed. The drove further in silence, still looking and feeling so defeated. Finally as if at the same time when they were stopped at a stop light they looked at one another, smiled and said, "you know what?" They laughed because they had said it at the same time. They both agreed they could not change the events that had happened, that they knew they did everything the could but the doors had been temporarily closed to them, so they agreed to enjoy the last two days they had together. To put all of these hurdles behind them and enjoy each others company and to live like tourist and see all the tourist attractions.

During the mist of all these crazy events Deanna’s friend Mindy called her, which Deanna immediately panicked thinking something happened to her daughter. Mindy being a mother herself and great friend said, "first and foremost your daughter is fine. She having a good time and doing great. She’s not asked about you, but every night when she goes to sleep she tells me she wants to say her prayers and the first thing she prays for is Mommy and Lee". "However, the reason I’m calling is because I keep getting calls from your dad which I let go to my voicemail because I don’t know what to say. He won’t stop calling. She said, "I called Clint and Clint said his dad kept calling him too. Clint told me that he told your dad exactly what you had told him to tell your dad if he called, which was that you made some last minute arrangements to go out of town." She said, "however, Clint said your dad is not buying it. Your brother is worried your dad is going to cut their vacation short to come all the way back to California." Deanna was so frustrated, of course, because everything she and Aly had been going through and now because as a grown woman she was still having to explain herself to her parents. She wasn’t ready to talk about this with them because of their critical thinking. Deanna spouted off to Mindy, "I don’t care. Call them and tell them whatever you want." There was dead silence on the phone, then Mindy said in a quiet voice, "you, you want ME to call them?" Deanna realized it wasn’t Mindy’s burden to deal with and she shouldn’t make it her problem, so she told her that she’d call them. The finished their conversation and then Deanna hung up the phone. She had explained everything to Aly about the call, her parents, and her daughter praying for them, to which you could just see him melt at her daughter’s praying. Deanna picked up the phone and began dialing her parents number and as the phone began ringing her strength started turning to weakness right away and she started praying that her mother would answer because she could handle her mother much easier than her worrying father. To Deanna’s relief her mom answered the phone. Her mom nonchalantly inquired as to how she and her daugher were doing, which Deanna said "fine". Her mom said, "well we’ve called a few times, but hadn’t heard back from you." Deanna said that she thought Clint had told them she had made some last minute plans to go out of town, which her mom agreed Clint did, but stated "you know how your father is". Deanna told her mom she was still out of town, she and her daughter were fine, that in fact they were having a great time, for dad not to worry and she’d call when they got back in town." Her mom was delighted to know she was having fun because she felt Deanna didn’t do enough to have fun, so was happy to know she was doing such. She agreed she’d tell Deanna’s father she called and that everything was fine".

Aly and Deanna took the last two days of their time together at a much more leisurely pace. They walked along the beach, explored the city, even places Aly had never experienced in the 11 years he had lived there, and just continued to enjoy one another’s company. One of the things Deanna was grateful for with their entire experience was seeing how Aly handled pressure because certainly they were under a great deal of pressure. He handled the pressures beautifully. He maintained a sense of calmness, strength and assuredness that he wouldn’t give up and continue dredging forward. This was very important for Deanna to see because she always had to be the strong one in the past and was so tired of having to be the strength for everyone. She was thrilled to think she’d have a partner that would share this quality with her to create a more harmonious balance in her life. Moreover, she was so grateful that she trusted God to fly there to Aly’s backyard, so to speak, to meet his friends. For until this time Deanna never realized how much one’s friends said about them. At least it wasn’t a conscious effort. She realized by meeting Aly’s friends that they shared the same temperament, same calmness, and the same love for God as Aly did. Deanna also realized Aly wasn’t "charming" as in trying to impress her with everything, but rather he was genuine. He was real, and she needed to see that with her own eyes. She would have never known these things if Aly had come to her first. Truly God needed her to see this from a different perception than her own. Deanna now understood the need for this journey. It wasn’t necessarily a journey just to meet Aly, it was a journey of spiritual growth, a journey of building an even closer intimate relationship with God, all of which Deanna was grateful for.

Sunday morning came so quickly. As much as Deanna and Aly were dragging their feet hoping that would slow time to a standstill they knew they had to get Deanna to the airport. Because they drug their feet so long, they were now late getting to the airport. When they arrived at the airport there was no time to park the car, and Aly not wanting to leave Deanna for a second just dumped his car on the side of the road and decided to deal with it later if his car got ticketed or towed. They found the terminal area Deanna needed to go, and Aly walked Deanna beyond the secured area where only ticketed passengers were able to go and carried her luggage to the scan area. He knew he was risking getting in trouble being in the secured area but didn’t care. He and Deanna hugged one last time and vowed their love to one another. Deanna was struggling not to cry, but was unable to control her emotions, for this was feeling like the day she left her daughter just last week at the airport. She had to say goodbye to one love, her daughter, to go see another, Aly. Now she was saying goodbye to one love, Aly, to return to her daughter. Deanna made her way through security and boarded her plane for America, crying, knowing she was leaving a part of her heart and soul behind with Aly until they were able to reunite.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Tale of Two Women - A Mini Series, Part XVI

After Aly and Deanna returned all their friends to their respective homes they went to the hotel that had been reserved for her. Aly made sure everything went effortlessly and smoothly while checking in and getting to the room. Once in the room Aly said to Deanna the words she had longed to hear her entire adult life, “would you like to pray together?” Deanna could not believe her ears. She had longed to hear these words, and when she did she thought her ears were playing tricks on her. She questioned him again as she had done nearly their entire relationship because she trusted no one these days. Aly again repeated in a soft gentle voice looking right into her eyes, “would you like to pray together?” She thought to herself, how did this man know exactly what I wanted to hear? How did he know this meant so much to me? For she knew she’d never revealed this part of herself as she had so many times previously to others because she didn’t want to give away all her desires for yet another to falsely take use of them for their needs only. The only conclusion Deanna could come up with was that God knew her heart and knew exactly what she desired even if she had never uttered the words to Aly. They prayed together and to Deanna it felt like the very first time she ever prayed. That same sweetness, that same hunger to be closer to God, that same wave of emotions that washes over you when you are truly connected to God.

The next day, Aly took Deanna to a little Lebanese café where they dined on hummus, chicken shwarma sandwiches, drank tea and smoked shesha for hours. They just talked and laughed like teen-agers, and could not believe this was really happening to them. Aly shared that Allah had showed him this exact scenario previously in a dream, but that he never knew when the day was actually going to come, and now it was here. They decided to go across the street to the beach walkway and stroll down the sea shoreline, feel the breeze of the ocean and continue their great conversation. They stopped occasionally to have others take pictures of them because they didn’t want to miss capturing these moments. Deanna and Aly confirmed that after meeting face-to-face and with all the other knowledge they felt they knew about each other and their respective backgrounds that they wanted to get married. They would need to go the next day to have a medical exam and blood drawn in order to prepare for the wedding ceremony. Later in the evening they went to explore the outdoor market areas and then dined at an Arabic restaurant/night club. Deanna had hoped Aly wouldn’t mind dining on Arabic food as she claimed there weren’t many good Arabic restaurants around her and wanted to make sure she got her fill of delicious food before returning to the states. Aly was not particularly interested in going to the Arabic restaurant/night club, but knew Deanna would enjoy it, which she did. They had the most delicious meal and enjoyed the live entertainment of dancers and singers. Deanna noted to Aly that the dancers where terrible, that they just pretty much stood there swaying there hips, not really dancing at all. Aly smiled to her, leaned in and whispered in her ear, “this is not like the dancing you see back home. More than likely these girls are hookers.” Deanna gasped. Aly said, “I know. Disgusting, huh? Watch what happens.” Not surprising to Deanna to know that people would give money to the dancers, however, she was not expecting to see these men literally spray these girls like a shower with LOTS of money. In fact, the restaurant attendants where standing by with fists full of money to convert the patrons larger bills to these wads of money. Then there seemed to become a “marking” of the territory over the girls. One man would take a wad of money and stand over a particular girl and pour the money all over her. Then another man would see this, get an even bigger wad of money, go over to that same girl and pour the money all over her. All the while the dancer just stood there, swaying her hips back and forth and smiled. Deanna could not believe what she was witnessing. Aly leaned over to her and said, “I wonder. I just wonder how many of these men throwing all this money around would give even $5.00 to a poor person on the street to which he concluded probably not.” In spite of the money showering show over the girls they had a great evening enjoying the food, tea, shesha, music and most of all each other’s company.

Monday came and Deanna and Aly were off to the medical clinic where they needed to have blood drawn, a medical exam, which basically consisted of an x-ray, and two photos taken for the necessary paperwork to be processed. Deanna found the clinic waiting area extremely crowded and seemed to lack organization. She noticed everyone just crammed to the front of the line, what little attempt at a line that there was, and started telling the poor clerk behind the counter what they wanted. The most fascinating thing seemed that everyone knew this was the way things operated and no one seemed to get upset or anything. Of course, to Deanna this drove her crazy because it seemed to confusing and cluttered with no structuring. She did like the fact though that the men’s area and women’s area of the medical examination facility were separated. You could just feel a difference in the areas, and of course she felt more comfortable in the softened feel of the women’s area. Everyone was very nice and of course inquisitive of Deanna, which she found interesting because she never thought of herself as someone that people would be inquisitive about, but rather just the opposite. She was the one that was always curious about everyone else, but now it would seem the shoe was on the foot so to speak.

After having their examinations completed, they went back to the Lebanese café to have lunch, drink tea and smoke shesha. Deanna confessed she could really get use to this leisurely life style. It felt so good to be relaxed and not going a million miles and an hour and feeling the pressures of everyday life. Later that evening they went back to the market place to do some shopping. In the meandering around of the market place they found a shop that sold wedding dresses, so they decided to venture over to the store. They were greeted by a wonderfully warm South African woman who had been living in the Gulf for five years now, and loved every minute of her life there. Deanna and Aly shared they were planning on marrying soon and were in need of a dress. The shop woman told them she was closing, but for them to come the following morning and she would have the perfect dress selected for Deanna to try on. They left the shop and went to a little Arabic restaurant called Nefertiti’s which was owned and operated by Russians, which Deanna thought was really funny. There they again sat for hours talking, and on this particular evening they spoke a lot of Aly’s childhood and his love for his mother. What warmed Deanna’s heart most was the emotion and love he held so near and dear to his family, for one could not fake what she was seeing in his eyes, his face, his body language, or his entire being.

The next day Deanna and Aly set out to the clinic to get their results, but were told the women’s section was closed and to come back the next day before noon. So Deanna and Aly returned to the wedding dress boutique where the South African woman was waiting for them, and as promised she had an absolutely stunning gown waiting for Deanna to try on. She did, and the dress fit nearly perfect. The woman told Deanna it would only require moderate alterations and that she could get the dress later in the afternoon of that same day if she wanted. Deanna could not believe her ears because this type of customer service would never be found in the states, at least as far as Deanna knew. After purchasing the dress they were back out to the market place and now went to the Gold Souk, which Deanna thought she had died and gone to heaven. She could not believe the amount of gold she was finding so available at your fingertips. After hours of absorbing all the luxurious gold jewels, they returned to the wedding shop and picked up Deanna’s wedding dress. They returned it to the hotel for safe keeping and continued their browsing of the city. Around 3:00 a.m. they made there way to an internet café so Deanna could send an email home letting everyone know of her safe arrival.

The next day came quickly and they rushed to the medical clinic to get their test results. The y then gathered two of Aly’s friends to go to the courthouse to get married. They were so excited at this thought because it was Valentine’s Day and what greater day to celebrate one’s nuptials then on the Hallmark holiday of Valentine’s Day. Upon arriving at the courthouse the clerk inquired as to whether Deanna had been previously married, which she indicated she had and produced a certified copy of her divorce decree. The clerk told her that it was insufficient and that they needed to get the document translated into English. This seemed so absurd since everything in this country was in English, but they rushed to an authorized translator’s office for said translation. They began the translation immediately, but told Aly he needed some number from the Foreign Ministries Office, which by time they got to their office was closed. They were tired and hungry because they had maybe had 4 hours sleep the entire four days that Deanna had been there. They returned one of Aly’s friends to his work and his other friend, Mohamed, remained with them. Mohamed reassured Aly and Deanna not to worry over this setback because Allah was in charge of all things, and for the two of them not to take their eyes of Allah. After having lunch they returned Mohamed to his work and then spent the rest of the day trying to get everything they could done so they could marry the next day. Aly received a call from his friend Sergio inviting them to join him and his fiancée for dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Prior to meeting Sergio and Christina, Aly and Deanna exchanged wedding rings that each had selected for the other and pledged their vows to one another, and agreed to keep their eyes focused on Allah, seeking His guidance and direction on their wedding. They dined with Sergio and Christine and finished the night off feeling relieved to have survived the busy day as well as hopeful for the next day to marry.

Deanna and Aly started their day earlier than all the other days by running to the Foreign Ministry Office. Deanna had to wait in line to meet with the Foreign Ministry Clerk who was busy having a young man bring him tea. He asked what Deanna wanted and she stated that she was told she had to come to his office to obtain a number for her and her fiancée to get married, and showed the clerk her divorce papers. He told her he could do nothing for her because she was an American that she needed to go to the U.S. Consulate Office for them to give her something.

Deanna and Aly rushed to the U.S. Consulate Office to where Deanna had to go alone through security to get to the consulate’s staff office. She was greeted by another set of guards, and she informed them she needed to see the consulate. They said it would be no problem, but she needed to come back at 12:30 p.m. as they were closed. Deanna stood there and cried because she was running out of time. It was now Thursday, the court closed at 2:00 p.m. and Friday they would be closed as well as Saturday. Deanna recalled the poor security guard looking so helpless at the crying woman in front of him. He immediately got on the phone to have someone talk to her. He handed her the phone and she explained to the person on the phone that she needed help. That she had been trying to get married and was getting the run around. She was running out of time and was told to come here to get some form of documentation in order to present to the court. The person on the other end of the phone felt bad for listening to her cry, so he turned the phone over to a woman. The woman on the phone heard Deanna’s story all over again and told her to just wait and she’d see what they could do for her. She reminded Deanna they didn’t open until 12:30 p.m. and it was now 10:15 a.m., so for Deanna to please be patient, sit next to the guard and wait for her to call, to which she did. She saw the clock ticking so slowly, it was now 12:10 p.m. and there was still no call and poor Aly was waiting somewhere outside the first secured area not knowing what was happening with Deanna. Deanna just sat anxiously waiting, praying, watching people and wondering when the damn phone would ring.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Tale of Two Women - A Mini Series, Part XV

The Christmas holiday was quickly approaching and Deanna was feeling a plethora of feelings, for she was finding her heart had been opening more and more towards Aly and feeling the sadness the holidays usually brought her due to being alone.

Aly had been extremely patient and not pushing Deanna to meet him face to face because he wanted her to be the one that took the lead in this area due to her past pains. Deanna knew she wanted to meet Aly to establish a life with him but was so fearful of making the decision because what if she would be wrong again. Prior to December Deanna had suggested Aly try to find an employer that would sponsor him to come into the states as way for them to meet, but that was proving fruitless. Aly had applied for countless positions that offered employer sponsorship to the states, but never amounted to anything. It was becoming increasing difficult for Aly and Deanna because they were now at a standstill, until Deanna made a choice to go see Aly.

Christmas day came and Deanna attempted to hold a stiff upper lip for the sake of her parents and daughter, but she only fooled herself. For they all knew how sad she felt, but couldn’t do much to help her. Her parents knew she was sad because she got sad on every holiday feeling alone, and her daughter knew she was sad because she wasn’t her bubbly self. Deanna still did not feel it was the time to tell her parents about Aly for after all there wasn’t really anything to tell.

When Deanna returned home that evening she had by then cried herself to exhaustion. She decided to lay down to rest her head and fell into a trance like sleep. She had a dream she still to this day will never forget. She had a dream she was standing on the side of a mountain overlooking some kind of view, however the view was obstructed because she wasn’t completely to the top yet. She heard someone say, "welcome back Deanna." To her astonishment it was God. She could not see a face or make out any visible form, but she knew that unequivocally it was God. She was also perplexed by the words that were used, "welcome back Deanna", which meant she had been to this part previously. She was not certain how she could have been here before as she didn’t recall climbing a mountain. God told her that it was a metaphor. He shared that everyone starts somewhere, representing the bottom, and as they grew, struggled, learned and climbed that represented the side of the mountain. He explained that she had been through many of these trials in her life and each time climbed to this very point in the mountain, to which she would either not get the entire lesson, give up, or wrestle with a situation too much when she should have turned it over to Him, and each time she did this she would start back down at the bottom of the mountain again to try climbing all over. He told her that the good news was she actually saw Him this time on the side of the mountain, for He had been there every time previously when she got there, but never saw Him. Even though it pained Him that she didn’t, He knew that one day she would, and here they were. He told her that He understood everything she was going through. Understood her frustration of being alone, understood her tiredness of raising her daughter on her own, understood her fear of trusting her own judgment with respect to Aly, and most of all understood her love and intention to do the right thing by Him (God). He told her that if she trusted Him He could take her further up the mountain, which He meant this in the respect of going and meeting Aly. She was crying, telling God who much she loved him, but that she was extremely scared. He smiled and told her that he knew she was scared, but how much did she trust Him. She fell silent before Him truly at a loss for words because although she had always proclaimed to trust God she was now being put on the spot. He could see the tears running down her face and feel her pain, but He allowed her to have her dignity while she thought about His question. Deanna felt so overwhelmed. She was being asked, by God, how much did she trust me? She trusted God, but she didn’t trust herself. She now realized it wasn’t about trusting herself at all, she had to give up that notion and either confirm or deny God’s question of how much she trusted Him. She looked up with tears running down her cheeks and said in a quiet voice, "yes, I trust you but know that I’m really scared". He told her that He knew she was scared. He said, "Deanna if you trust me then take my hand and I will lead you up the mountain." Deanna reached out her hand and felt His wrap around hers. She awakened from the dream knowing she could not waste one minute not making the preparation to go see Aly.

She called Aly on the phone and told him that she needed to come see him, that she needed to meet him face-to-face, that she needed to know that he was the man God had prepared her for. Aly was taken back by these latest revelations, but was thrilled inside nonetheless. He asked Deanna if she was sure, to which she replied, "absolutely, I trust God." She heard Aly say, "Allahamdullilah, Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar".

The next day Deanna called her friend, Mindy, to tell her about her dream, to which Mindy told her "you know what that means don’t you? You’ve been praying and seeking God’s will in your life as well as to prepare you for the husband He has chosen for you. So what are you going to do, she said?" Deanna said that she wasn’t sure because she couldn’t take her daughter with her and she didn’t want her parents to know. Deanna shared that her parents were travelling for a couple of months at the beginning of the year so that would be good, but that still didn’t solve the problem with her daughter. Mindy told her, "don’t let your daughter be the reason you decide not to go meet Aly because I will watch her in your absence". Deanna could not believe how everything was falling into place so quickly and effortlessly.

Aly sent Deanna a flight itinerary for her scheduled flight, which thrilled her and scared her because it was truly becoming a reality. There were very few people that knew of Deanna’s plight to travel and she wanted it to remain this way because she did not want to deal with the critics that would give her a hard time for traveling to the middle east---more importantly flying to the middle east to meet a man she met online----how foolish could that be?

The morning arrived and Deanna’s friend Vicky picked her and her daughter up early in the morning to take her to the airport. Again Deanna was thrilled at the adventure, knowing she was trusting God, and sad because she was leaving her daughter for the first time ever. Vicky hugged her and told her to have a good time, to let her know when Deanna arrived, and to not worry her daughter would be fine. Deanna leaned in the back seat to say good bye to her daughter, who asked, "where are you going Momma?" Deanna tried hard to fight the tears but one fell out, and she told her, "I’m going to see Lee baby" as that was how her daughter pronnounced Aly. Her daughter cried and said, "I want to see Lee too Momma. I love Lee." She told her daughter that she knew she did, and she’d be sure and tell Lee that when she saw him.

Deanna’s flights were slightly altered due to the unexpected bad whether, but was re-routed and ultimately arrived in the Gulf as originally scheduled. When she arrived at her destination, a fellow German passenger assisted her through customs as he had traveled there many times before, so knew the ropes. Deanna made her way to the luggage carousel only to discovered her luggage had been misplaced. The airline staff confirmed her luggage had made it there, but were not able to locate it at the moment. The took the name and number of where she could be reached and confirmed as soon as they located it they would deliver it to her.

Deanna made her way out the airport exit to the surprise of ten million people waiting for their arriving passengers. This terrified her so much because she was so painfully shy. She ran to the corner and began praying and asking God to help her have the strength to walk out the door again to find Aly. She asked God to please let Aly find her because after all it would be easier to pick her out of the crowd than it would be to pick him. She walked out the door and not long down the exit walkway she was stopped by an invisible force to which she looked up and to her right and there stood Aly----all alone. Truly this was a miracle because there’s no way he could have been standing there alone with ten million others right in the same area, but nonetheless there he stood. There eyes met, they smiled and she walked towards him. He opened his arms and she fell into his embrace, placing her hand on the side of his cheek and breathing for the first time. He told her later that he felt like he finally had life when she placed her hand on his cheek.

Aly had a friend, Mohamed, that was waiting in the background of this scene who after seeing them hug came forward handing her a bouquet of flowers saying these are from Aly. Aly introduced the two of them and then they made their way to his car. Aly and Deanna couldn’t stop looking at each other because it was really happening, after all this time they were finally in the presence of one another. Mohamed was smiling at the scene being played out in front of him. Aly then drove them to a little restaurant where they were meeting with some of Aly’s other friends that wanted to meet and greet Deanna upon her arrival. "It was a glorious way to start the adventure", Deanna thought, and told God thank you an infinite amount of times.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Tale of Two Women - A Mini Series, Part XIV

Claudia’s life as she had known it all these years had come crashing down on her. The man that she loved, adored, would do anything for and has served as her confidant and rock all these years was gone. Even though she knew it was a 30-day treatment program he was in, it still seemed like a lifetime away. She still had to keep her wits about herself for her son’s sake, continue going to work everyday, and now assume the responsibilities of paying the household bills. This was going to be a difficult task because Clint had always been responsible for these things and she didn’t even know where to begin. Her gracious father-in-law though step up to the position of fill-in bookkeeper until Clint returned home. Her father-in-law helped her figure out what bills needed to be paid, which bills didn’t require any attention, as well as ensuring their checking account had enough money transferred from their savings account to cover any automatic withdrawals that took place on a monthly basis.

Claudia would find the strength every morning to rise early, get her son ready and take him to his grand parents house for the day because he was on summer break from school. She would then go to work, put in a full day cleaning rooms for an assisted living apartment complex for senior citizens, then return back to her in-laws, who would have dinner waiting for her every night when she came to pick her son up.

Even though Claudia was still regulating her medications she was plummeting into another deep depression. She started missing work more and more, started losing her hair, and was missing Clint terribly. She felt she had no one to talk to, so held all the shame from her family’s secret being exposed inside. She felt so far from the only other place that gave her refuge and that was her family in Mexico.

While Clint was in the rehab center Claudia received word from back home that her grand mother had passed away. This was her mother's mother. Due to Claudia's current circumstance she wasn't even able to travel to her grand mother's funeral which added to her already depressed state.

After the first couple of weeks, Clint was able to make a call to Claudia to which she was delighted to hear her husband’s voice. They were not able to talk long, but it was that conversation that gave Claudia the strength to go on another day.

While Clint was in rehab there were certain duties that was expected of each person in the facility, which included cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, managing the outdoor grounds areas and a multitude of other things. As each day passed and the patients were successful in completing their chores as well as participating in their group meetings and individual meetings the were given a better position. Clint in a short while had been elevated to the fire marshall of the group who's duties were to ensure all medical equipment was properly functioning, fire extinquishers were current and properly operable, burning the leaves and grass that had been gathered during the outdoor maintenance cleanup as well as conducting camp fires on special nights when visitors were allowed.

During the third week of Clint’s stay in the rehab facility, the family members were invited to attend an evening event for an hour or so to see their family member in rehab as well as be a part of the their group discussions. Claudia, her son and in-laws drove up to the facility for the meeting. Deanna declined to go and because of still reeling from being upset with her brother for causing the family such unnecessary hardship she felt it would be best if she didn't go.

Claudia and her son were so thrilled to be going to see Clint that they were bouncing off the walls with excitement; Clint’s parents were also very excited about going to see him. When they arrived Clint greeted them all warmly. His parents noted how good he looked and how his demeanor seemed different. They stayed for the meeting to which they learned a great deal about addiction. They also received literature and any assistance they would need in dealing with an addict once they’ve been released from their treatment program. Before leaving Clint presented his parents and Claudia an envelope as well as provided them with an envelope for Deanna to which her parents delivered to her the next time they saw her.

In his letters he declared his addiction to alcohol and drugs and how he had let them consume him and cause so much pain to everyone around him. He apologized to everyone and plead for their forgiveness. He thanked them for their tremendous strength in conducting the intervention. He realized he was too weak to save himself, and their strength, courage and commitment to him was what gave him the push to help himself.

During the last week of Clint’s 30-day stay in the treatment program he was allowed to come home for one 24 hour time period as an exercise and attempt to see how it was going to be in the ‘real’ world because like everything else in life he and all the other patients had fallen into the safeness of the rehab facility. They needed to step out of that safeness and stand on their on and that's what this one day did. Claudia went to get her husband to bring him home for his one-day visit, which proved to be very stressful. The entire family gathered at Clint’s parents house to see Clint during his one night home. When Clint and his family arrived you could sense the tension going on between Clint and Claudia; however, as Claudia always managed to do, she put a smile on her face. Clint on the other hand had never been able to conceal his emotions, so it was clear things were not pandemonious.

Clint’s son on the other hand could careless about anything else than being with his dad. He missed his father so much. As much as his grand parents had tried to show him a good time while his father was gone, it just wasn’t the same without his dad around. His dad was his hero.

Understandably Clint was nervous to be away from the safe haven of the rehab facility, the solitude he found in the wilderness where the facility was located, but now he was faced with reality and it was stressful at best. Of course, Claudia had been living the everyday day-to-day life as well as assuming Clint’s duties in addition to hers so she was feeling the stress as well. During the madness of the Clint’s being away, one the bills had been overlooked or paid late, so there was a reminder letter in the mail that Clint found. He blew a gasket and started arguing with Claudia over it. This only made Claudia feel worse than she already did because of missing her husband so much.

When Deanna and Claudia saw one another and hugged Claudia started crying, which was not an experience Deanna had shared with Claudia on too many occasions. Claudia was telling Deanna that she felt like she was a loser and no good, that she had somehow failed Clint because he was so mad at her. Deanna could see she was tail spinning into a frenzy, so she placed her hands on Claudia’s cheeks and told Claudia to look at her. When their eyes met, Deanna said in a softened voice, “Claudia, you are a dynamic woman. You have the strength like no one I’ve ever seen. You have just endured the most painful experience in your life with no help from essentially anyone. Do not own Clint’s hurtful words. You are not a loser. Do you hear me Claudia? You are not a loser. You are a dynamic, beautiful, loving woman who has devoted everything to her husband and son. Do not think for one minute this has gone unnoticed. Let your husband own his stuff.” Claudia out of shame kept diverting her eyes from Deanna which Deanna clearly understood, but when Claudia looked in her eyes one last time Deanna said, “Claudia, I love you. I am here for you. Never feel like you have to carry these burdens alone. God will never forsake you, and I will do everything I possible to help you”, to which both women embraced each other before Claudia and Clint said their respective goodbyes and returned to their home.

The next day Clint returned to the rehab facility to complete his last week of group and individual meetings before graduating from the program. On the last day, once again Claudia and her son went to pick up Clint which was an emotional moment for Clint because he had become so attached to the people at the facility, knew the safety net that he had been living under for 30 days was now being removed and he was left to handle things on his own. He was given a name of a sponsor and both he and Claudia were encouraged to seek weekly AA meetings in order to stay focused and supported during his recovery process.

Clint and Claudia as well as Clint’s father attended AA meetings weekly. Claudia and her father-in-law stopped going before Clint did, but managed to continue to show their support towards Clint.

Not long after Clint’s returning home from rehab and returning to work, he’s fire station had merged with the Department of Forestry which offered Clint a better work environment and more importantly more avenues for promoting within his field of expertise. He was just amazed at the opportunities that were coming to him, to which he realized were all because of God.

Just prior to Clint’s one-year anniversary of being clean and sober, his parents, sister and his niece went on a mini cruise to Mexico where they joined their cousins. Clint and Claudia were not able to go because of Clint’s work schedule, but all agreed they’d plan the following year for everyone to join.

Deanna was thrilled to be going on this mini vacation with her family as she hadn’t really had much of a vacation in quite some time; moreover, she was thrilled at seeing her two favorite cousins as they had been close since childhood. On the other hand Deanna was a little sad because this meant she was not going to have the constant contact with Aly and she had come to look forward to these moments of their daily chats. She had shared with Aly her trip with her parents, and he enthusiastically wished her and her family safe travels and more importantly to have fun.

Deanna and her family met up with her cousins and they all excitedly couldn’t wait to board the ship. They were all chattering a million miles an hour making plans for what they wanted to do, and the first on the agenda was to see their respective rooms then head for food because after all that’s what vacation is about………….eating.

From the moment they boarded the ship it was non-stop entertainment and laughing. Her cousins should be standup comedians because of their one-line jokes. Deanna’s one cousin, Blake, is married to Pat who everyone in the family absolutely adores. Everyone just wants to be around Pat because she’s so kind, thoughtful and funny. The other cousin’s wife, Janice is a pain in the butt. The most obnoxious, cynical, annoying person you’d want to meet, but they all tolerate her because of Joe.

Deanna returned to her cabin one afternoon for her daughter to take a nap and noticed the phone had a blinking light flashing on it, which she wasn’t sure what that meant. She picked up the phone and an announcement came on indicating she had a message. She retrieved the message and it was from Aly. He said, “Hi Habibi. I just called to let you know I’m thinking about you and hoping you and your family are having a safe trip. May Allah bless you always. I love you.” When Deanna hung up the phone she saw her reflection in the mirror and she was smiling. She blushed at catching herself smile.

Like all vacations, the trip was over faster than the anticipation of it starting and everyone was sad to be parting ways. However, the all agreed to do it again the next year, and once they returned home would begin researching their next venture.

A Tale of Two Women, A Mini Series, Part XIII

Deanna decided to join a gym to help rebuild her strength and get back in shape as she was feeling stronger and stronger everyday and started interacting with people more. She felt this would be a good solution. She and her toddler would go three times a week. At first Deanna had a personal trainer that was kicking her butt, but she was not complaining because she was starting to feel better and more importantly could see the results of her efforts. Long after her personal training sessions ended Deanna continued she regular workouts and pushed herself further each time to see how far she could push her strength. The day finally came when Deanna reached her personal goal of leg pressing 580 pounds. She swears she heard the 'Rockie' theme song playing in her head. She was thrilled beyond words because she was able to see her growth, see the fruits of her labor when she put her mind to something. She realized God had lead her to this point to show her that she was strong, that there were rewards for her efforts, and most importantly that He was there for her the whole way.

Deanna’s friend Nazar graduated with his Master’s degree and excitedly began looking for work, but was perhaps a little impatient in Deanna’s mind because he only gave his efforts a few short months before making a decision that would forever change things. Nazar had made a trip out to see Deanna and told her his goal was to find work in California because he wanted to be closer to her. He explained that she was his family. Deanna was thrilled to have her friend move closer as she loved their daily conversations. There was a real bond that had formed between them. He came and spent a week with her looking for work and then returned to Chicago. Deanna felt disappointed because she did not think a week was sufficient enough to find work and shared those sentiments with him.

In the fall of that same year Nazar also received his U.S. citizenship and passport, and they celebrated his good fortunes. A few short days before Thanksgiving Deanna had invited Nazar to their Thanksgiving celebration. She thought it would be fun for him to experience it as an “American”. He thanked her for her invitation but declined because he was living for Qatar to look for work. Deanna argued her points as to why Nazar shouldn’t leave, but ultimately he did. Vowing nothing would change between them, they’d remain in forevermore contact, and would visit one another; however, Deanna knew from experience that the best of intentions didn’t always work out. Nonetheless Deanna was so sad that she was losing her confidant, her best friend, her heart hurt once again.

Deanna had heard about a marriage minded Muslim website through a friend and decided to post an add without her picture. She searched the other ads, of course the one’s with pictures, as well as received contact hits on her page, but nothing Deanna aspired to do anything about until one day in spring. One morning Deanna awakened and did her usual routine of things, make coffee, dialing up the internet, work on her assignments, and most importantly spending time in prayer with God. She loved the mornings because they were quiet and peaceful. On this particular morning, however, for some strange reason she had the thought to post her picture on the website she had been browsing through for some time now. She was uncertain as why to post the picture as she liked being invisible, but it was like an exterior voice telling her to do so, which she did. On that exact same day she received a message from someone who had just signed up that very day, named Magdolin. Deanna read the nice message and then clicked on his profile to see who Magdolin was, and low and behold the most beautiful creature she had ever spotted with the face of an angel and a smile as big as the sky lit up before her. It literally took her breath from her as she muttered, “oh my”. She nervously clicked on the profile button to read further details about Magdolin to which she learned he was in his upper 30’s, single, had no children, had never been married, was Muslim, was educated, was an executive chef, and….”UGH!”, thought Deanna, EGYPTIAN. Deanna thought to herself, “Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhy? Why couldn’t you be anything else but Egyptian?”

After much thinking and praying she decided that she was not the one to sit in the seat of judgment and forbid all Egyptians from every crossing her path just because of Adam. She realized that was ridiculous as well as discriminatory and so decided to respond to Magdolin. She and Magdolin, known as Aly, began corresponding through email everyday. It became one of the things Deanna looked forward to most, and it seemed the same was true for Aly. They seemed to have an immediate connection, but Deanna was very skeptical and perhaps even a little cynical in her thinking, but continued regardless in her correspondence. She had learned Aly’s father died when he was 12 years old, leaving him to raise his two younger brothers as well as provide for his mom. He began working in the early hours of the morning before school at a bakery making bread, then went to school, came home checked on his mom and brothers and then return to the bakery. He had shared that he didn’t harbor any bad feelings over not having a childhood because he knew that was Allah’s choice. He knew and still knows without a doubt that Allah loves him and he loves Allah, so he gives all thanks to him for the good and bad in life. When his younger brothers graduated from school, and his mom had remarried to a man Aly had introduced her too, he felt for the first time he could now leave home and begin his life. So, he left Egypt bound for the Gulf countries to pursue his culinary skills. By summer Aly and Deanna were now talking by phone and just as enthusiastically as they were through emails, and instant chat.

By summer of that same year things with Clint and Claudia had escalated out of control. Clint had done nothing about his alcohol and drug dependency. Nor had Claudia done anything about seeking counseling for this condition. The two just remained on the same crashing course they had been heading down for many years. At this point Clint’s parents were now confiding in Deanna that they didn’t know what to do anymore. They felt like they shouldn’t be involved in this situation, that Clint and Claudia needed to get their acts together. Her dad knew Clint drank as he had seen him do it before, but was not aware of his drug addiction. Deanna's mother on the other hand knew, but kept silent. Deanna’s father had told her that he and her mother were older and that they were retired and should be actually living and enjoying their golden years, not still taking care of their son and his family. Her father seemed frustrated, saddened and even uncertain as to what to do, and more importantly was he suppose to do anything.

Deanna finally sat her parents down to have a talk with them and share the hidden secret of her brother. She felt time was volatile and they needed to act right now for the sake of her brother. He was truly spinning out of control, and if something wasn’t done soon it would only lead to disaster. She shared with her parents that she knew someone whot could serve in an intervention, a program designed to confront the addict with their problem. She believed this was their only recourse at this time because neither Clint nor Claudia had done anything to improve their situation. Deanna recalled seeing her father’s face and could see the pain inside of his eyes, and this just boiled her blood. For this pain was needlessly coming from her selfish brother.

Deanna made all the necessary arrangements with a counselor she knew named Doug who was trained in the arts of intervention to meet with the family. In the meantime Deanna’s father contacted Claudia and made secret meetings with her to explain their intentions, of which Claudia conceded to these terms. With the exception of Deanna, everyone in the family was very sad and were feeling helpless. Of course, Deanna wanted only the best for her brother, but in order for him to have that he needed to get his act together and get off the drugs and alcohol. For until he did, Deanna saw him as a burden more than someone that was helpless.

Deanna, her parents, Claudia and even Bud a close friend of the family, met in one early morning days before the intervention was to take place, to discuss the procedure in its entirety. Doug explained that Claudia needed to bring a packed suitcase of Clint’s clothes with her to the appointment. Doug could not express enough to everyone how they needed to keep their mouths quiet until this intervention in order for it to be affective. He reminded them that their silence although it seemed like a form of trickery was necessary in order to express the point across to Clint that everyone was united in no longer accepting his behavior. He further explained to everyone that at the intervention with Clint’s suitcase sitting visible that each person would need to tell Clint how they felt, and more importantly how they felt about his alcohol and drug addiction. Once each person was done saying their words, then Doug would also talk with Clint and explain to him that he had a couple of options. He could either seek professional help through a rehab facility which would be located far away or he could continue his same destructive life style, but would need to move from the family home and have no further contact with his family members as they would refuse to talk to him.

Of course, hearing the harshness of this intervention was causing some uncertainties in Deanna’s parents and sister-in-law. She could see the wavering in their faces and their actions. She reminded them that although this was a very difficult process to go through, they were doing this for the sake of Clint because he was too weak to help himself. They all agreed they felt Clint was too weak to help himself, but had hoped there could have been an easier way.

The morning arrived and everyone was sitting at Deanna’s parents house nervously chatting awaiting the arrival of Clint. Doug reassured the family again and applauded them for their strength to move forward with this intervention. The moment arrived when everyone saw Clint’s truck drive up in the driveway. You could hear a pin drop from the silence that fell over the room……….the moment of truth was finally hear and Doug and Deanna could see the unsettling in everyone’s face. Clint entered the house to find everyone standing there and looked perplexed. More than just seeing his parents, wife and sister, but Bud, the man that had been Clint’s hero growing up, and this other guy who he had never seen before in his life. Doug jumped up and introduced himself as all the pleasantries were said to one another. Clint inquired as to what was going on to which Doug managed to through unspoken words get everyone to move to the living room to sit and be more comfortable. He explained that the family had invited him to this meeting and that he’d like Clint to respect his family and hear what they had to say. They started first with his father, who had written a little script because he didn’t want to leave anything out. He said to Clint that he loved him as well as his family. He said that he’s been seeing Clint’s attitude change for sometime and not in a good way. He felt Clint was becoming a very angry man and hated to see his family dealing with this anger. He also believed Clint was an alcoholic and needed to get help, and then bowed his head before anyone could see the tears running down his cheeks. Clint sat stoic saying nothing, and looked at his father.

Next Clint’s mom told him that she wanted nothing but the best for him, but felt he had a problem and needed to get some help. She worried about her grandson, and hoped he could do something for his sake. Then bowed her head told him she loved him while tears rolled down her cheeks. Again Clint sat stoic saying nothing, but saw the pain in his mother’s face.

Next Bud told Clint that he loved him and had known him such his was 2 years old, to which the two men smiled at one another, and then said that he believed Clint had a drinking problem and needed to get some help. He assured Clint that he’d be there for him no matter what and support him through his recovery. He then fell silent with tears in his eyes.

Next it was Deanna’s turn. She looked directly in her brother’s eyes, lowered her voice and told her brother that first and foremost she loved him. She loved his wife and his son. All the while their eyes never fell from one another. Deanna shared that both she and her brother knew he had a problem with alcohol and drugs as Clint had previously disclosed that to her in another meeting, to which Clint agreed out loud. She hoped that he would make the right choice and get some help for himself as well as his family as she was tired of seeing him destroy himself, to which he agreed.

It was now finally Claudia’s turn, and the room fell dead silent. Claudia looked into her husband’s eyes and you could see she had opened a hidden door of strength with inside herself because she sat tall and confident. She told Clint, she loved him and wwoul always love him. She was tired of living the life they were living with his drinking and drug use. She was tired of the pain everyone was going through. She was tired of their lives being so miserable. She stood up, walked across the floor, grabbed his suitcase, and said, “Clint you must either get help for your problem”, sat the suitcase in front on him “or you are not welcome back in our home”, to which you could see the sadness wash over Clint.

Doug knowing this was the most poignant part of the moment decided it was time to sweep in and finish this intervention off. He explained to Clint that he had two choices, he could either agree to check himself into a treatment program that his family had found for him or he could continue his life as such, but fully understanding his entire family would forevermore turn their backs on him. He agreed to Doug that he struggled with alcohol and drugs and that he worried everyday whether his work would find out. He agreed that he needed to do a few things first and then go to the treatment program. Doug informed him that he was not allowed to do anything other than go to the treatment program THAT day. He explained to Clint he needed to call his work and rearrange his schedule because he was going that night, to which Clint agreed to do.

Things did not necessarily work out for Clint to go that day in light of all their preparations, but he was able to go the following day. Clint’s dad drove him to the treatment facility, which was a good distance from their respective homes. The two men chitchatted about nothing in particular due to the tenseness of the situation. Once there, they were shown the facility and the program was explained to both Clint and his dad. Clint signed all the necessary documentation to enroll in the program and his father paid for his stay there, which would be a minimum of 30 days. The two men said their goodbyes and Clint’s father got in car and sobbed, for this had been probably the hardest decision he ever had to make in his life.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Tale of Two Women - A Mini Series, Part XII

During one long weekend, Deanna’s friends Nazar and his cousin Osama flew to California to see her and the baby. Nazar was outraged by Adam’s behavior and just kept telling Deanna “this is how all the damn Egyptians are”. He hated to generalize such a statement but from he and his family’s experiences and dealings with the Egyptian culture they received the same deceitful treatment.

Deanna, Mindy, Nazar, Osama spent the weekend laughing, eating and exploring the city, which was exactly what Deanna needed………time with good friends and laughter. Deanna knew that Nazar had deep feelings for her, but also knew Nazar wasn’t available for being anything more than her closest friend due to his unhealed heart. Nazar’s mom died from cancer when he was in college and has never recovered from the loss. His mother was everything to him, and now that she was gone he resolved himself to never feel such a loss again EVER. Although he struggled with his feelings for Deanna, his not wanting to ever lose something special again outweighed those feelings. So they resolved through unspoken words to remain forever friends and support each other no matter what happened in their lives. After their glorious weekend together, Nazar and Deanna continued supporting one another through daily phone calls, and Nazar would visit Deanna whenever his schedule permitted as he was in the process of earning his Master’s degree.

Clint and Claudia’s arguing was rearing its ugly head yet once again. His parents were at their wits end because they felt helpless. Even Clint’s father disclosed to Deanna that maybe it would be better if they got a divorce, which he didn’t necessarily support, but after seeing all the arguing that was happening in front of his grandson he thought in this case it might be warranted. Upon learning this news, Deanna once again contacted her brother to inquire as to what was happening. She received the same story she had always received that Claudia was the source of their problems, that Claudia was spending money like crazy, and that Claudia wasn’t supportive. Deanna asked if he would be willing to consider letting Deanna mediate between he and Claudia in an effort to fix things. He agreed that it couldn’t hurt and made the arrangements for their son to go to his parents for their meeting with Deanna.

Deanna arrived at Clint and Claudia’s house with her new baby in toe and got right to work talking to her brother and sister-in-law. Clint started in that they were having money problems and that he was very frustrated about it. Claudia sat silently. Deanna asked Clint what remedies he had taken to improve their financial struggles, to which he declare sheepishly “none”. Deanna realized there was no time for pointing the obvious finger, but rather to get to a solution that would work for them. Deanna shared again things they could do to help their financials situation to which both Claudia and Clint agreed. Deanna realized this was the first time Claudia had been included in these conversations so was really intrigued to see her reactions to these discussions.

Clint shared that he didn’t feel Claudia was supportive of him enough that she seemed to always be on his case about something. Deanna asked Claudia how she felt about this, and she said that she didn’t agree, and looked directly at Clint and said, “Clint, did I not leave my family, my culture, my entire life to come here to make a life with you?” He bowed his head and said, “yes”. She continued by telling both Clint and Deanna that she loved Clint more than anything and had done everything she could think of to support her husband and son. When Clint wanted to go anywhere didn’t Claudia make all the necessary arrangements, didn’t she always re-arrange her work schedule to the point of even losing jobs, didn’t she always clean Clint’s clothes, keep their house clean, and care for their son. To which, again, Clint agreed. Deanna could see things weren’t, as they always seemed. Although admittedly Deanna always struggled with the idea that Claudia was the one spending too much money, but just couldn't quite figure out what the underlying issue was.

When Clint brought up the money issue again, Claudia asked Clint what he thought she spent money on besides food for the house and necessities that were required for their son, and he said, “well what about all the calls to Mexico? Those cost money, Claudia, and you should be using your money from your work to pay for them, but you leave the phone bill for me to take care of”. Deanna interjected and suggested that perhaps they could invest in calling cards rather than using the tradition phone service, which they both fell silent.

Then Claudia reminded Clint of the money he spent on all his toys, motorcycles, camping trailer, camping supplies, and all the other guy things he purchased. She reminded Clint that she never complained of him purchasing these things and always supported his activities. Moreover, she said, “what about the other stuff Clint?” There was an exchange that went on between the two of them the Deanna noticed, and then inquired as to what other things.

Clint looked his sister directly in the eye, then bowed them before saying, “I have a problem. I smoke pot regularly.” When his sister said nothing Clint looked up at her expecting to see a judging look in her face, but rather found his sister’s look had not changed from prior to his confession. In fact, she seemed to have softened and asked in a calmer voice, “how long has this be going on?” To which Clint replied, "since I was in high school". Deanna looked from Clint to Claudia and could see the relief flow from Claudia as if the floodgates had finally opened and she wasn’t the only one that now knew the ‘secret’.

Clint admitted he’d been going to a doctor on and off over the years to try to get some help, but nothing seemed to help. He realized he held a high position in the fire department, and realized he was risking every day going to work being exposed for his secret, but he didn’t know what to do. Claudia shared also that she didn’t like him hanging out with his friend Mike because they always seemed to get drunk together. Although, Claudia really liked Mike and considered him their friend, she still struggled seeing the two of them destroying lives together drinking and smoking pot.

Deanna assured both her brother and sister-in-law that she was there for them and would do whatever it took to get them through this situation. She strongly suggested to Clint that he contact a counselor as soon as possible to get some counseling for his alcohol and drug addiction. She also encouraged Claudia to seek counseling for dealing with this condition as well, so she could better understand what Clint was going through and to be a support to her son. She reminded both of them of their obligation to their son who didn’t deserve to live in an unfit household. Reminded them he deserved so much more and so did they. Deanna agreed to help them through anything, and more importantly agreed that they would not inform their parents because they did not need to be burdened with this situation. Both Clint and Claudia thanked Deanna separately for her help and support.

It had been nearly two years since Adam had left, and Deanna was finally felt she could show herself in public, for she had been living in hiding this entire time. For one because she was so embarrassed and ashamed of her situation, and for another because people were trying to come after her legally for Adam’s criminal and fraudulent dealings through his business. She was able to ward off much of the attempted legal action because of her discovery of not being legally married to Adam, however, she was taken to court over a vehicle she had purchased through Adam’s business. Not long into his business, Adam had taken Deanna’s little Mercedes in as a trade and sold her a Jaguar in the preparation for their baby’s arrival. Deanna could not afford the payments of the Jaguar since she and Adam had separate accounts and he was not giving her any additional money, so she traded the Jaguar in. Adam gave her a Lincoln Town Car as a gift because he wanted to make sure she and the baby had a safe reliable car to drive. After Adam’s departure from the U.S., Deanna was served with legal action concerning the Jaguar she had traded back in to Adam. Apparently, when Deanna filled out the loan papers with the financial institution for her auto loan, the lender then in turn gave the money to Adam for Deanna’s purchase of the Jaguar. Adam was responsible for registering the vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles making Deanna the registered owner and the lender the lien holder; however Adam never did this. More importantly Adam sold the Jaguar to another guy. This guy paid cash for the car, to which Adam was suppose to pay the loan back to the lender who had supplied him the money and didn’t, which meant Adam profited twice on the same car that was now registered to no one. Deanna had a team of two attorneys helping her fight this battle because she, too, was possibly facing criminal proceedings, which terrified her tremendously. Doing what Deanna does best, she kept all of this to herself and suffered in silence with the exception of her attorneys and best friend who knew everything. As the proceedings continued even the attorney representing the financial institution suing Deanna was advocating for her, working with her attorneys to come up with a doable plan that would not bring criminal action against Deanna. However, they were not able to do anything about the fact that Deanna had signed loan documents with the bank for the car, which still made her legally liable for the money even though clearly the liable person for the illegal operation was Adam. In addition the lender's attorney proceeded vigorously getting a criminal judgment against Adam, which means nothing at the moment due to his absence, however it will be a tool that is used against him should he ever try to return to this country. The lender's attorney informed Deanna and her attorneys that they were tracking him and not only was the U.S. immigration department after him, but so was the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and many many other entities.

Deanna learned an expensively valuable lesson, and now clearly understood the meaning of “hind sight is 20/20” because she was every day seeing Adam clearer and clearer for who he truly was, a very disturbed individual with no moral fiber or spiritual values whatsoever.

A Tale of Two Women - A Mini Series, Part XI

Deanna and her father constructed the baby’s furniture while Deanna’s mom cheered from the sidelines, it was actually a sweet moment for all of them because they had been so much unsettling between them as well as with Claudia’s family that they were all finding solitude in the brief moments.

Deanna was learning more and more about Adam that she wasn’t liking, but at this point wasn’t sure what to do. She resolved herself to support her husband and prepare for the baby that was quickly coming. Adam was still working hard every day as was Deanna, but now instead of going out every night to the local coffee hang out Adam was frequently the newest casino which had opened about thirty minutes away from their home. This was very hypocritical to Deanna because Adam made it a point to share with everyone that he didn’t drink because he was a ‘Muslim’, yet on the other hand seemed to have no problem with gambling. When Deanna brought this little tidbit to light to Adam he would just tell her “Hankoosha, you just don’t understand. Owning your own business causes a great deal of stress and owning a car business is the most stressful of all. Please be patient with me as I just need to relax. Please be tender to me like I’m a child.” Deanna would say nothing but inside her head be having a full on conversation because this was absolutely ludicrous. Stress was relative to her. Everyone had stress in their life, everyone’s job was just as stressful and as important to them, and the crazy notion of justifying gambling because it was a stress reliever was insane.

First week of July Deanna was scheduled for her regular weekly doctor appointment and her doctor had given her a prescription to go to the hospital to have an ultrasound performed as a routine precaution. She had shared with Deanna that just before the baby delivers their movement becomes slower and therefore not as easy for a doctor to detected the well being of the baby through the standard way of checking. Deanna arose early that morning, stopped to have some breakfast before going to her appointment and then onto the hospital for the procedure. They performed the ultrasound and told her to enjoy her weekend as everything looked good.

Deanna left the hospital and returned home where Adam was still sleeping from getting in too late. Deanna tried to occupy her time but feeling very restless and uncomfortable. Beginning to feel some uncomfortable pain, so much so that she decided to wake Adam up and ask him to take her to the hospital. He awakened feeling tired and having a stomach ach, but slowly got ready so they could go. Deanna wanted to scream, “get your ass up and lets go”, but patiently waited. They were finally loaded in the car and at this moment Adam looked at her and said, “Hankoosha, you really don’t feel good, do you?” Deanna exclaimed that she didn’t and could they please hurry. The thirty minute drive to the hospital seemed more like ten hours to Deanna because Adam was driving so freaking slow. She thought she was going to lose her mind, but because Adam was so sensitive she decided to just keep quiet until all of this was over.

They checked in at the hospital where the one nurse recognized her from a few hours previously and inquired as to why she was back. Deanna informed her that she was in some unusual pain and wasn’t sure what to do. They examined Deanna and the nurse told Deanna that she felt Deanna was just dehydrated which was normal and to drink water and walk. She insisted Deanna get up out of bed and walk around the hospital, which she did mumbling under breath that she wasn’t dehydrated. Adam tried to consul Deanna as well as he could, but he was serving her no purpose because he was too busy complaining about how much his stomach hurt. He did have the foresight though to call Deanna’s parents and let them know they were at the hospital. Deanna returned to the little cot area where she laid down again and could find no comfort in either standing, sitting, laying or walking. This was like no other pain she had experienced. The nurse returned and told Deanna again she was just dehydrated and that she needed to get up and walk, to quit laying down. This was really making Deanna mad because she felt like no on was listening to her, so as she stood up in front of the nurse fluids gushed from her and the nurse’s eyes widened and said, “Oh! You’re in labor.” Deanna screamed in her head, “DUH! Even I, the untrained person, knew that you IDIOT.” They immediately checked her into a private room where the pain increased, and Adam’s pitiful self was moaning in the corner about his stomach.

Deanna’s mom and dad arrived, and being the protective mother, her mom ran in seeming ten feet tall with her unseen badge of courage shining brightly. She was there to kick butt and take names. This was her baby in the hospital having a baby, and darn everyone better take care of her or deal with the wrath of ME. Deanna finally felt relieved and safe having this side of her mom there. Adam jumped up when she arrived and began telling her how much his stomach hurt, to which Deanna’s mother not looking at him said, “well, you’re in a hospital go have someone look at it”, to which he decided to go outside and smoke.

Deanna’s best friend also arrived from racing from Nevada to California in about a 2 hour or so race when the journey usually took closer to 3 hours to complete. Deanna was just beginning to deliver with her mom at her side, Adam feebly standing on the other holding his stomach, looking like a weak old man, when Mindy walked into the room. Adam bolted out the door and let Deanna’s best friend assume his position. Deanna was actually relieved. Certainly the strength of the women around her would be worth more comfort than her whining complaining husband, who she was not liking at the present moment.

Just before 8:00 p.m., Deanna delivered a healthy beautiful baby girl. The cheers from the room of the baby’s happy arrival was energizing. Moreover the hospital upon the arrival of a newborn plays a happy melody throughout the hospital as a way of announcing a new arrival. They all momentarily stopped when the melody began to play and then continued their cheering, laughing and talking afterwards. The baby was checked over and was declared wonderfully healthy. Deanna was then moved to another private room for her and the baby’s recovery. This was the first moment since the beginning of Deanna’s pregnancy when she finally stopped feeling sick. She was so grateful and gave thanks to God for all her good fortune, and prayed blessings over her new baby.

Deanna remained in the hospital for one day before she was released. She had called Adam to come get her, and you could sense the new parents were so nervous about leaving the safety of the hospital. They were now on their own to care for this baby. Interestingly enough Deanna was beginning to see how Adam seemed weakened. As if he was only strong when Deanna was strong, but now that she was temporarily weakened from her delivery he seemed frailer.

Deanna’s mom came to stay with her for a week or so to help her get settled in as well as to assist with anything she needed. On the first day, Adam went to the grocery store and bought tons of food, cooked dinner for his wife and mother-in-law and seemed to be the doting husband and father she had dreamed he’d be, but the days to followed proved that theory wrong. Deanna was mortified because for until this time she was able to hide the fact that her husband was staying out to all hours of the night from everyone because no one lived in her home but her. Now, her mother was there and Deanna could no longer hide this fact. Her mother fought to hold her tongue for Deanna’s sake but was just boiling inside over this deadbeat of a guy. She did manage to get a few jabs in here and there but for the most part kept her silence and focused on her mission which was to help Deanna and the baby.

Six weeks after the birth of the baby Adam announced he needed a vacation because he was so stressed out from his business. He told Deanna he was going to go to Egypt for a couple of weeks, just to clear his head. Deanna was shocked. Egypt? Vacation? What in the world? He confided in her that his business was actually failing and that he was in financial straits. He knew if he went to Egypt to face his father personally that he’d understand and help them out. It would only be for a couple of weeks. Deanna could not believe what she was hearing. This was ridiculous. She managed to find the strength to finally voice her opinion to which only fell on deaf ears because Adam had already made the necessary arrangements. Deanna drove him to the airport hoping that within the two hour drive to the airport she could convince her husband not to go, to remind him of his daughter, to remind him of their relationship, to remind him of anything that would cause him to stay. She and the baby stood in the airport lobby as Adam went through the security check. He turned one last time to see his wife with tears rolling down her face and their baby in hand and waved goodbye. Deanna stood for the longest time there in that very spot completely bewildered by the turn of events. What was she going to do now? She knew for all intensive purpose in spite of what Adam assured her that she and her baby had just been abandoned. How could this be happening to her? Deanna slowly made her way back to the car and began the long drive home, which she had to stop several times to either dry her eyes or to feed her baby. Her baby was the only thing that kept her going and she thanked God for that.

Clint and Claudia seemed to have stabilized their lives once again and were enjoying their daily activities as well as their outdoor ventures. Claudia’s son was now participating in basketball, which was fun to watch. He was clearly a natural when it came to participating in sports, whether it was soccer, basketball or baseball. He was a great team player, the type of kid the coaches loved having on their team because he did what they told him and didn’t argue about it. He was also loved by his team players for being a great friend. Of course, he had his own entourage of fans (family members) that showed up to everyone of his events and cheered him on.

Claudia felt bad for what happened to Deanna but didn’t necessarily know what to do. She offered her sister-in-law her condolences and said that if she needed anything at all to let her know. Reminded Deanna that they were family and that’s what family did was help each other no matter what. This, along with the re-established relationship with her family gave her comfort.

When Adam left Deanna only had two more weeks of maternity leave before she had to return to work. It had always been Deanna’s dream to stay home and raise her children, which she had been promised by Adam, but that was no longer of any use to her. So, determined to stick to her goal, she sought ways to earn money and still be able to care for her baby. After much research and made connections, Deanna was able to not return to her corporate job with all the medical benefits, visions benefits, dental benefits, vacation and sick leave benefits and start her own contracting business, where she contracted her services out to various individuals that needed her skills. She set up her office in her living room and immediately began working. She intitially had one contracted account, but it wasn’t enough to survive on. However, Deanna did not care because she believed this was a sign from God that she was on the right track. For after all, this all evolved in a matter of less than 14 days. She picked up a second contracted account at the end of the year. Again she knew this was God’s doing because the work came gradually not to cause her anymore undo stress, and she was being able to manage it while still caring for her baby. By the middle of the following year Deanna procured two more accounts that would sustain her and the baby financially as well as allow her to continue to care for her baby without daycare.

Although there was a part of Deanna that was able to logically rationalize everything and was also able to focus on providing for her child, there was an emotional part of her that was suffering. She was struggling with bouts of dark depression and sadness from being abandoned by her husband who still called regularly declaring his love for her and assuring her that he was coming back, that things weren’t his fault, it was the U.S. that was the problem they wouldn’t let him back in, but for Deanna not to worry he was coming back.

Deanna wasn’t kidding herself, she knew he wasn’t coming back. He couldn’t. In his absence he missed an immigration court appointment and was ordered deported from the country. Adam knew he had that upcoming appointment which was another thing Deanna was trying to remind him of while driving him to the airport but none of those things seemed to matter. Deanna attempted to get Adam back into the country by talking with his attorney to see what needed to be done. She stated there was a number of things that needed to be done, and one of the things Deanna needed to get was a copy of their marriage contract so she could show the court of his marriage and the need for him to return due to his financial obligation to the family. Deanna went to the Masjid Adam had taken her to when they got married and quickly learned there was no documentation. When they initially went in to get married Adam assured Deanna everything was taken care of and that those matters were taken care of by men. She trusted Adam since he had the knowledge of Islamic marriage procedures and she did not. She seemed it odd she didn’t sign anything, but trusted her husband nonetheless. So what a big surprised to learn once again Adam had been deceitful. UGH! What was she to do? Now she knows she wasn’t legally married to Adam, and her baby doesn’t have a father. Could Deanna be anymore of a loser than at this very moment. For how could she have been so foolish, after all she was a brightly educated woman. How? Deanna just continued to pile on the loads of guilt and shame on her shoulders and walk around hunched over. She managed to get through everyday to which she gave thanks to God.

There was only two things Deanna found solitude and peace in and that was spending time with her baby and spending time in prayer with God. Nothing else seemed to matter. Many nights and days she would ask God why this was happening to her. She wondered what she had done wrong to cause such pain. Asked God to reveal this information to her, so she could improve and not have this happen again. Some how she felt she had failed God and that’s why she was made to suffer to gravely. Yet on the other hand she had been blessed with the most precious baby ever. One that slept through the entire night from the moment she came home from the hospital. A baby that never cried for anything, but rather always seemed to have a gentle peacefulness about her. Because of the peacefulness of her baby’s temperament Deanna began to believe God hadn’t punished her, but rather protected her from Adam. For he had become like a wrecking train lose on a going nowhere track.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Tale of Two Women - A Mini Series, Part X

Adam started his own auto sales business in late summer, and things were moving really quickly for him. Much preparation was needed to get everything up and running, but Adam was confident he could handle everything because after all he had essentially ran his last boss’s business entirely. Deanna helped in anyway she could in getting his business running smoothly. He acquired a little office space for retail sales, which was perfect since he was starting with very little capital. Deanna was thrilled to see his enthusiasm and worked right along side him since the inception of his business. In fact she was the one that assembled his furniture from scratch because he was struggling to figure it out, along with every other aspect of the business.

Deanna and Adam continued their weekend routine’s of going out, and one particular weekend Adam had suggested that perhaps Deanna should give up belly dancing because it really wasn’t a respectable thing. Deanna argued that she wasn’t doing it for a living nor planned on making it her life’s work, but rather something she really enjoyed doing once a week. However, since Adam was not backing down from his position as well as reminding Deanna that they were respectable people and what would people of his culture think if they found out his wife was belly dancing. Deanna decided that it wasn’t worth the argument and discontinued her dance classes. Besides her days were so busy now that she was working full time in her job and helping Adam with his business during the evenings and weekend. Her time was pretty much exhausted, so giving up belly dancing wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

In the end of October first of November Deanna discovered she was pregnant. She could not believe her good fortune in spite of the fact that she felt sicker than a dog. From the moment she opened her eyes until the moment she closed them at night and maybe even into her slumbering sleep she felt nauseously green. She shared the news with Adam and he was thrilled. He couldn’t wait to spread the word to his colleagues. He even called his family back home whom he hadn’t talked to in years due to some misunderstanding they had. Adam shared that he came from a relatively affluent family back home and sometime back he had asked them for some assistance on something and according to him they turned their backs on him. From that time forward he vowed he’d not contact them again, but Deanna believed because she shared a close relationship with her family and the fact that she held family values at such a high standard that perhaps now that Adam was starting his whole family he reconsidered his position and contacted them. Until this point, Deanna had never met any of his family or even spoke to them on the phone, so she was delighted to finally talk with his father and sister.

Somehow Deanna managed to awaken every morning and get out of bed although she was feeling extremely sick. She tried every possible remedy suggested in order to get through the ‘morning sickness’ part of the pregnancy, but after four months it was still going strong.

Deanna’s daily activities consisted of going to work for nine to ten hours a day, get off work drive to Adam’s work and process any files that needed processing and organized the mayhem office that seemed to explode somehow every single day. She would usually get home around nine or ten in the evening and then just collapse.

As with all newly weds you learn more about one another once you are actually residing under one roof, and one thing in particular that stood out to her was the fact that Adam went out every single night with or without her. This was troubling her because she was not use to this type of living arrangement. She could only base her present experience from her past, and her past taught her that families dined together, spend the evenings together, but this was not the case with Adam. He had explained to Deanna that in his culture it wasn’t unusual for the guys to get together at the end of the day and spend time playing cards, drinking tea or coffee and visiting with one another. Deanna had no problem with them keeping their friends and doing things with others outside of their little union, however she felt that every night was a little excessive. By time Adam would return it would be one or two o’clock in the morning to which he would finally drift asleep on the couch sometime around three in the morning. Deanna started her day by waking at six in the morning, so was always sure to be very quiet and not disturb Adam’s sleep.

Clint and Claudia’s arguing was increasingly getting worse. It was becoming more of a daily activity of life than an occasional bantering. This had escalated so much that Clint was now talking about divorcing Claudia. He was so fed up with her and her lack of responsibility. The man that only saw the sun rise and set in his beautiful bride was now only seeing red flurries. He was so fed up, and was complaining to his mom regularly. Finally one day Deanna’s mom told her about her brother’s decision to divorce Claudia who had been nothing but a burden to her son all these years. She felt bad for her grandson, but thought maybe it would be the right thing. Although she didn’t like the idea of her grandson moving to Mexico as she knew that’s where Claudia would go because there would be no other reason for her to remain here and more importantly she couldn’t take care of her self here. If Deanna didn’t know better she would think her mother was just waiting patiently for the call to back Claudia up and ship her back to Mexico, but she knew better.

Deanna contacted her brother to see how things were going, knowing full well she knew what was going on, and her brother just opened his mouth and let the flood gates of distaste flow freely. Deanna realized that some of the things he was sharing were based of bits of rage, other things were based on his tainted one-sided version, but she also knew there was probably some truths to the spewing. Deanna offered suggestions on how they could curtail some of the spending habits to which her brother thought were great ideas, but didn’t implement one of them as he didn’t have time and besides it was Claudia’s problem they were in all this trouble. Deanna stated that regardless of whose fault it was for the situation, there still needed to be a resolution, and with a few simple changes, things could go back to the way they were previously…blissful. Clint was far too gone, he had already resolved himself that he was ending this marriage at once. He was tired of Claudia being the dead weight in the structure, and he had worked to hard for her to piss away everything . If he hadn’t been investing through his 401k every month, then she would have spent that money as well. When Deanna asked Clint what Claudia spent so much money on, he said, “sis, I have no fucking idea what she spends money on. She has to go to the damn grocery store everyday and buy something.” Deanna inquired as to what else, to which he replied that he wasn’t completely sure, but the money was going through her hands like sand. Deanna felt there was definitely more to this story, but wasn’t feeling up to getting into it with him because she felt miserable. Moreover, she was still struggling to figure out how she was going to tell her parents she was married and pregnant. She knew this was not a secret she could conceal forever, but still hadn’t felt the moment was right to say something.

After the beginning of the New Year Deanna’s doctor wanted her to have an amniocentesis done because of her age; she was in her mid-thirties. She was so nervous about having this procedure done, and she didn’t bother Adam with her fears because he was always so stressed out and she didn’t want to add to it. Merely out of fear for the procedure needing to be performed the very next morning, Deanna decided to call her mom and tell her everything. Her mom listened in silence and when Deanna was finished telling her, her mom told her to call after the appointment and let her know how it went. Deanna was relieved because after all she knew she just unloaded a bombshell on her mom and she’d need time to process this information as well as tell her father, as her parents shared everything with one another.

The next day Deanna went alone to the medical facility where she was greeted by the most warm and friendly staff she had every met. They could not only see the fear in Deanna’s face, but knew they needed to calm her down for the sake of her unborn child. Deanna made it clear to them as she did to everyone in the medical community that she didn’t want to know the sex of her child; she was only concerned for the well being of her baby. In this day in age, Deanna felt it was harder for people to keep this information quiet than it was to tell someone so easily the sex of their child, but she liked the idea of having something to look forward to. Like opening a present on Christmas. The procedure itself although serious in nature went very well, and Deanna was allowed to leave shortly thereafter knowing they would be sending something to her doctor letting them know her results. A few weeks later at Deanna’s next ob/gyn routine scheduled appointment her doctor shared the test results with her which were all negative. Deanna praised God for this news, and continued to pray for His blessings upon this unborn child.

Through the day-to-day operations of work Deanna was able to occasionally have a sense of humor about herself in spite of the sickness. She shared with her best friend as well as others that she believed if the baby was a boy, then she understood him trying to suck the life out of her because of their ‘neediness’. On the other hand, if it was a girl she was going to cheer ever so loudly exclaiming how proud she was of her little girl taking everything from her because she’d use it for strength.

Deanna’s relationship was a little strained with her family, but they all still managed to communicate by phone, but other than that she didn’t see them much because of the number of hours she was putting into her jobs and marriage. Moreover, Clint’s situation was also causing her parents to be a little sidetrack.

By late spring, two months before the arrival of their baby, Deanna and Adam moved into a bigger home. For until this time they were living in Adam’s one bedroom apartment and that just wasn’t enough room for three people. Deanna in the meantime sold her Chateau in the Ghetto and paid off her Mercedes. Her mom helped Deanna a couple of times when Deanna was going through her home and ridding herself of a lot of things. Her mom who was not one to really know how to show comfort to her daughter seemed to be hurting inside seeing her daughter going through all these things…the hours of work, the packing and selling of her home, but most of all what bothered Deanna’s mother was that she felt her daughter was giving everything of herself to her husband and was not seeing the same in return for her. On one of the packing days Deanna’s mother actually mustered up the courage to share her thoughts with her daughter. She told her daughter that she hated to see her being treated this way because Deanna was a good person, she was smart, she had a good heart and deserved so much better. She asked Deanna directly, “what do you guys do that you like to do Deanna? It seems you guys are always doing the things that Adam likes to do, but what about the things you like?” Of course, Deanna got defensive and told her mom the things Adam likes to do she likes to do as well, which was absolutely the truth, but there were other things she would have liked to do to but didn’t. The two women sat with tears running down their cheeks and just hugged one another. Nothing further needed to be said.

When Deanna’s condo had finally sold, her family and a couple of Adam’s workers from his car lot helped Deanna remove the last of her belongings from the condo. Deanna recalls her family leaving her alone inside the condo for a bit by herself so she could say her last good byes to the Chateau in the Ghetto that oddly enough had become a safe haven for Deanna. Perhaps a place where she came to actually know herself for the first time, although not completely and certainly not perfectly, but nonetheless her first real meeting of herself as an adult.