From Heartache to Hope

We first heard from her in the summer of 2013. She was a mom of an 18-year-old daughter diagnosed with autism and bi-polar. But that wasn’t the main reason she was calling Autism TN. She had recently moved here from PA because of an abusive situation, and was currently homeless. They couldn’t even go back to the Nashville Rescue Mission because Mom had Multiple Sclerosis and couldn’t do the activities that they require to stay there. Her daughter had been raped at another residential facility in the past. When she contacted us, she needed what most of us take for granted…safety, shelter, food, and medical care for herself and her daughter.

Luckily, we don’t get too many calls like this. However, also luckily, we are in a building with a number of agencies that are more equipped to handle life or death situations like these. So we were able to refer Mom to several places we found through our “neighbors” at the Tennessee Disability Coalition. We continued to follow up with her for the next several weeks to make sure she was able to secure lodging, food, and medication and, in one instance, even a place she could go to recharge her cell phone, her only link to the outside world.

And then, as so often happens, we didn’t hear from her again…until last week. When she told me her name, I knew it sounded familiar but couldn’t immediately place it. Then she started to tell me her backstory, and I remembered all of it as if it had happened yesterday! This time she was calling about her daughter and her wish to complete her education, and did we know where she could do that. I was thrilled to find out that they were now living in a nice apartment, her daughter was working, Mom’s MS was under control, and they were both receiving some much-needed counseling for past abuses. They even had a computer now, so I could put them on our email list! We talked and caught up for over an hour.

I can’t tell you how much that call impacted me. Mom was so thankful for the help we had provided her, but I think I was even more thankful that she was back on her feet and that she and her daughter were doing so well! They have hope now, and she took the time to share that with me. In this season of hope, she is my Christmas miracle! Wishing you large (and small) miracles of your own during this holiday season and throughout the year!!

Merry Christmas,

Carolyn Shindler

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