I was raised on a farm where every day was a struggle just to put food on the table. All I knew was work and loneliness. The animals came first for our survival. My father wanted sons but instead had 4 daughters and one son that lived. The last baby born was a boy that died at birth and my father was devastated.
During my early school years I needed help with speaking and I was pulled out of class for extra assistance which began my isolation and feeling of being not quite right compared to the other children. I worked hard to fit in but that caused a bigger problem for me. As even though I had three sisters of my own, the eldest was already busy with life itself and the two closest to me hated just hearing my name – yet they did not know me as a person – as it was always Wendy did this, Wendy did that by my father which separated us completely. Our connection was lost.
Being raised on a farm was not all bad as I enjoyed watching new life come into being, so tiny, helpless and yet warm and loving and so how I enjoyed their companionship. However, I would wake up one morning only to discover that they were gone, setting a belief within me that what I loved would never last and be taken from me.
At the age of 9 my father and brother were standing in the middle of the yard and dad was sharing with my brother how all this would be his one day and I looked up at him and said, But, Dad, what about me? He looked down and replied, But you’re just a girl.
That day I lost my sense of self worth completely and my voice. I never did have a girlfriend that I could call my best friend to share things with. Our farm was surrounded by a 7 foot fence to keep the animals in – but it also kept the world out.
During my high school years I was like a ghost travelling down the corridors just going through the motions. One day, I saw an ad that guaranteed me a government job with great income and I knew deep down within my core that I did not want my children, if I had any, to live in poverty, so I jumped at the opportunity – although English was not my best subject, as I was committed to being more for them.
After graduating it was no surprise, though, that I had married the first man who gave me any attention as I remember saying to myself, ‘Who would want me!’ I can still hear those word like if it were yesterday inside my head. That began a 25 year verbally abusive marriage. It was only when the pain became too much to bear, did I finally find it within myself to say, You don’t deserve to be treated like this! Wendy, stand up for yourself ! And when I did, my children said, Mum, what took you so long? I thought I was hiding my pain from them, yet all that time I was only fooling myself. I then began a new journey of rebuilding my life from scratch while caring for those who counted on me most to be strong: my children, my mother and my staff.
For six years I worked long and hard and cried myself to sleep many nights, praying to find a man that had 3 qualities: 1) Slow to anger 2) A Giver not a taker and 3) Could love me as much as I could love him. And although I never believed I would find him – I did. 2009 Carmon and I were married on Valentine’s Day February 14th with our now combined families: 6 children and 13 grandchildren in our home in front of our fireplace. I picked Valentine’s day as I thought, wow, each year I would get 2 gifts instead of one and he could never forget that date. lol
Two months after the happiest day of my life, Carmon and I were sitting in the doctor’s office as we were advised that Carmon had 3rd stage colon cancer. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I dropped everything I was doing and began to research out ways to try and save the love of my life Carmon.
Over the next 6 years Carmon and I fought his battle together and each time when we thought we had it beat, the cancer would come back. It was when we received the news that the cancer had jumped to his liver that I felt totally devastated. It felt like when I took two steps forward, I was taking ten back. I was lost and hit bottom. It was only then, again, when the pain was too great to bear alone, that I reached out and discovered a community of women that provided me with the strength, support, love and tools to carry me through this journey and onward to my passion today.
By November 11, 2011 my life had been transformed so much that it created a yearning inside me to give back. Don’t keep this to yourself. I wanted to shout from the rooftops – Life doesn’t have to be this hard , and you are not alone! So when my community of BraveHeart Women asked for women to come forward to help launch BraveHeart Women in our local communities, I jumped at the opportunity.
Then fear set in – I had never spoken to a group of people in my life – what was I thinking! But my soul wouldn’t let me quit on myself this time and I remained open and over the next few years, invested in myself with mentors and courses and I continually evolved.
On December 7th, 2014 Carmon transitioned in our home in front of the exact fireplace where we had just six years earlier exchanged our wedding vows , surrounded by our children and now 15 grandchildren.
I now know that everything in my life happened for a reason and guided me to where I am today and I am truly thankful for all of my experiences. My 40 years as a court reporter gave me the opportunity to not only listen but I viscerally felt the pain of women from all walks of life and all ages share their stories, hear their cries of loneliness and feelings of worthlessness.
While at the same time, watch communities come together in times of devastation such as SARS and Walkerton, and find within themselves the strength to support each other while grieving and ensure that the disaster did not repeat itself again – to save others heartache.
This is WHY I do what I do. I want to bring women together in Community and guide them out of pain, support them like a sister and ensure they never feel alone again. I have been able to take my life experiences, many years of loneliness, lack of self worth and support, and turn it into a beautiful community of Oneness. And, that assists me and keeps me motivated each day to embrace other women that may be where I once was and that if she is open, she can learn to dance with life again, find joy in her heart and friendships that last a lifetime with US.