The Revenge of a Good Life
By Tamara Gabriel
Looking back on where I am today, I realize that every step in my life somehow prepared me for my worst nightmare. Having been the only daughter of a priest, I grew up sandwiched with my twin and older brothers. I had to learn to be tough. My mom was always a go-getter, and both my parents were pretty unstoppable. I think having the foundation and influence of great faith served me well in the midst of multiple tragedies.
I was in an abusive marriage for almost 13 years. I suffered 2 miscarriages, and I decided I wanted something different in my life. I had been told that I was good at massaging, and my grandfather convinced me to go to school and get my education. On his deathbed, I announced that I had enrolled in school. During that time, I was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases and was told to quit, but I persevered and finished. Shortly after I graduated I could not take marriage anymore and vowed the next time he threatened divorce, I was leaving. And I did. I asked my dad for help and he said he would only help if I sat with him, the bishop and my husband, so I told him I didn’t need his help.
It took me a while to get on my feet, but I finally got my own place with my two children, Ryan, who was 11 at the time, and Janna, who was 9. I received no support from my family and a lot of anger from my husband’s family.
But life was settling. For the first time in a long time, there was no yelling, no negativity, and I could live my life the way I wanted to. Ryan was a lot of work dealing with his anger and oppositional defiance disorder; somehow everything was my fault and I was the crazy one and nothing was wrong with him except me. Janna had ADHD, and Ryan had a hard time with his sister, so I let him go stay with my parents to defuse some of the stress of our separation. Janna was happy to be with me alone and we had a very good relationship.
One day, Janna and I were on our way to visit a friend telling jokes and laughing when my car lost control and hydroplaned and ended up on the other side of the road. Janna was airlifted, and I was taken to a local hospital. Our family came together, but unfortunately Janna died a week later due to head injuries. I wanted to die because I felt she was the only one who ever loved me unconditionally.
Everyone was already mad because I left my family, and now they were really going to hate me. My son insisted I ruined his life, and shortly after Janna’s death I was alienated. I was drinking before, and I started drinking even heavier to kill myself. I couldn’t imagine living my life with all the hatred and vowed to punish myself for killing my daughter.
A few months passed and a friend of mine suggested I attend Alcoholics Anonymous. That first meeting was the introduction to the rest of my life. I went through every major life crisis at the same time and never thought that I could get through, but I was reintroduced to my faith through recovery.
My mom said “the best revenge is the revenge of a good life,” and that stuck with me. Why kill myself when I can stay alive and piss everyone off because they will all have to deal with me?
I have been told I’m strong, but I just tell others that I am rebellious. I have gratitude for everything and put my trust in God. It has also been said in the book of Job, that whatever you lose you will be replaced with tenfold.
I have gone through my son’s crystal meth addiction, mental illness, the death of his father to alcoholism, multiple surgeries, and hospitalizations and always knew I would be taken care of. My relationship with my son has mended and today, he is working for Apple and living very close to me. I am on my third and healthiest relationship with a man I truly love and who treats me well.
I live every aspect of my life in memory of my daughter so that her death will not be in vain, and I just celebrated 18 years of sobriety. My family is back in my life and has also moved close to me as well. What I lost in my daughter, I have gained tenfold. Having the love of my step daughter and being Mimi to her daughter makes me very proud.
There is life after death, and I believe my husband is my reward for all that I have been through.
I love helping people and never want them to feel alone and like nobody cares. I have felt that way and know the pain. But I also know that every step in my life brought me to where I am today and the gifts of forgiveness, compassion, and unconditional love have helped to heal all the wounds of the past, creating a better future.
Taking that first step toward healing all started with me.
Tamara Gabriel is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Spiritual Mentor and creator of Healing Hugs, a non-profit organization that helps support individuals that are grieving with funeral and various expenses after the loss of a loved one. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and CafePress.
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God bless you. One night I read one of your post on Facebook and it brought me happy tears as I was thinking of my daughter who is resting in peace in her heavenly home. Your a blessing and your story will encourage many.
Thank you for sharing your story. You are a beautiful person and a powerful inspiration. May God continue to bless you.
Thank you for sharing you life and your glorious rebirth. Hugs to you Kelley.
I have just gone through and will have to continue to go through some tough times. Nothing as so serious as you have but very taxing due to my love of beer. I have hurt nobody except the people around that love me and myself.. No accidents or anything but I find myself in a situation and had contemplated a lot of different things. After reading your life, I realize that I am better off here and continuing to help my elderly parents. 83 and 84 years of age, my Mother and Father. You have helped me. I need and want to stay on the right track. thank you for sharing.
you are very strong woman..whenever i read your post in a fb i was motivated.thank you for sharing your experience and helping other people to get back on track..
I love your website. I just lost my 37yr. old son Christopher on March 15th. I am finding comfort in your website. Thank you, thank you, thank you,
Wow, I am so sorry for your losses. I have “liked” the healing hugs Facebook page for quite sometime now, and never knew who/what was behind it, until now. This #oncomingalive project has woven it’s way in and out of my life, like a delicately woven spider web, and helped me so much with my grief and loss. I had no idea how deep some of this stuff has been buried until I started reading all the stories. It has begun a delicate healing process and has given me so much hope, again, like the kind I used to have. I am truly sorry for all you’ve been through, but thank you for your willingness to share and help others through Healing Hugs.
Tammy my sweet cousin…This just makes my heart hurt for you all over again but at the same time makes me even more proud to call you my cousin. Its been too long
since we’ve seen each other. I think of you often!! I love you and am so incredibly happy for you and the sweet life you have today!
Tamara God bless you, You look exactly the same as you did 20 years ago. 🙂 Lori
Beautiful Tamera. Turns out…you “staying alive” and having happy ending didn’t “piss everyone off”…you were able to mend so many broken pieces and have a happy ending. Also, it’s not even the end! ☺️ There is still so much living to be done and remembering your daughter throughout it all. She turned out to be the angel on this earth and now in heaven…that you needed. It is amazing what life can throw at us and even more amazing how and what we can endure. I’m sure your daughter is smiling down on you…loving her mommy and so proud. You, sticking around, probably saved your sons life too. It would have been much worse without you…not as beautiful as an outcome…THAT IS FOR SURE! Sending you big hugs. You made me tear up this AM…happy tears.
Wow thank you for sharing your life with all the pain, suffering and returning to faith. My heartfelt sympathies for the loss if your daughter, and my heartfelt joy of her eternal life. May her memory be eternal and your continued joyful life in abundance. We are worthy of love. ???
First let me say as a fellow friend of Dr. Bill, I give you great praise & thanks for sharing YOU. I’m truly sorry for the pain of losing sour daughter & so much of you through the rough years. I had an abusive husband , lost touch of my own children after his death & my health started declining due to a non curable spinal disease . I’m so happy to now know you, I love your Facebook page, it helps me through my struggles in life today. Congradulations & many thanks!
Thank you for sharing your story. It is so similar to mine, it gives me hope that peace will someday be present again in my life.