And Just Like That, We’ve Reached The End


“The years that lie behind you, with all their struggles and pains, will in time be remembered only as the way that led to your new life. Then, also, the need to tell your story will become less pressing. You will see that you are no longer there: the past is gone, the pain has left you, you no longer have to go back and relive it, you no longer depend on your past to identify yourself.

There are two ways of telling your story. One is to tell it compulsively and urgently, to keep returning to it because you see your present suffering as the result of your past experiences. But there is another way. You can tell your story from the place where it no longer dominates you. You can speak about it with a certain distance and see it as the way to your present freedom. The compulsion to tell your story is gone. From the perspective of the life you now live and the distance you now have, your past does not loom over you. It has lost its weight and can be remembered as God’s way of making you more compassionate and understanding toward others.”

– Henri Nouwen

********

There once was a girl who grew up in a home. A beautiful home that so desperately tried to be filled with love, but it wasn’t meant to be. And as the years went by the walls began to buckle and bend against the weight and stress of containing so much sadness, until one day they tore wide open and washed the girl out into the world long before she was ready and with nothing to prepare her.

But she tried.

She began to build a new home, with a new heart, and a new hope for the future she always wanted to have. But it wasn’t meant to be and before long, the girl, battered and bruised, once again found herself standing on the edge of a life she wasn’t prepared to be leading.

But the pages kept turning and the world kept moving and although she fell often, she kept trying to stand until she learned to step, and walk, and run, and fly. Then one day that girl looked down upon the life that she had led, and realized that it was time to move on; but first, a goodbye.

To my dear readers, I cannot thank you enough. You were here when my ex-husband vanished and I got lost in the wake of overcoming domestic violence, and you stayed through all the nights that I screamed at the ceiling and drown in my own tears. When I couldn’t figure out which way was left or right and I was trying to unravel years of abuse and torment. When I looked crazy and it all looked ugly, and when everything I had and all of who I was spilled out onto the floor as a sacrifice to survival, you were here.

Trauma, poverty, court dates, orders of protection, health issues, disowning extended family, bad dates, funny stories, parenting mishaps, broken hearts, new loves, and really, really, dark nights, you were always here, which is why I have clung so tightly to this blog while also subconsciously trying to avoid its pages. They are the words that made up my being, but now feel so far away that I often have a hard time relating to the girl I once was.

I loved her, however broken and confused she was, I loved her.

I loved it all, if I’m going to be honest, even if I didn’t realize it then and even if it’s difficult to accept now. I love who she was becoming and I love even more, who she became.

I miss her at times and the hands that once filled these pages, but if there’s one thing that I have learned through all of this, it’s that growth brings life to the soul and I don’t want to die here. I don’t want to be suffocated by the weight of such a heavy story, because this story does not define me anymore than a road that leads to paradise; vital, but transient.

I will never forget, ever, but it’s time for me to move forward. I’m free and I’m at peace.

Thank you all for being such a huge part of my story, even when it was writing itself faster than I could keep up. I will never forget what I went through and will continue my work with Rise From The Ashes, fighting for the legal rights of domestic violence victims and survivors, but there will not be any new blog posts in this space. However, I do plan to leave these pages up knowing full well how they make me look at times, because as the blog was originally titled “It Is Not My Shame To Bear,” there’s no shame in surviving a difficult life, no matter how that looks in the process. The only thing that matters is who you choose to become.

There are no endings where there are new beginnings and I’m very proud to say that I’m well on my way.

I survived.

Thank you all.

*Takes bow and makes dramatic exit*

*******

I’ll still be on Facebook and Instagram so please find me there! I will miss you all horribly if you don’t.

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25 Comments

  • Eatabagofrichards
    July 3, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    Nothing says healing like being able to step through your trauma to the new life that awaits. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, with all it’s insecurities and imperfections and mishaps and mistakes and discoveries and journeys and growth!

    • Eden Strong
      July 6, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      And thank YOU for sticking with me through it all 🙂

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    I’m so proud of you, Eden! You’ve come so awfully far and gone through so much to get where you are now. You’re an inspiration!

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Oh Eden, I am so proud of you…the woman you are, how hard you push through whatever life throws at you, the grace and compassion and humor as you navigate the world…You have grown, you have learned, you have opened your heart, and you have made your life what you want it to be! Keep sharing life with us! Keep inspiring others, keep fighting for others, keep advocating for others, keep making us laugh (the world needs your humor), and keep being wonderful, amazing you! Can’t wait to see what the next chapter has in store for you!

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    I’m still going to follow your FB and insta!! I’m so happy for you!!

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Onwards and upwards! You’ve fulfilled the meme: one day you will tell your story and it will become someone else’s survival guide. We appreciate you🙏🏼🌈❤️

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Eden, I will never forget reading your blog post about the Christmas when your daughter wanted a certain dog toy. You and I were able to connect via email and I was able to send a few things and got to know you a bit. I am so very thankful for that and for you, your blogs, post,etc and that you and your beautiful babies finally got the path you deserve and were meant to be on. Sending love, hugs and good karma always 😘❤️

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    A few years ago I happened upon a article you had written about how things weren’t always as they seemed; that people judged you because of your good phone (that was cheaper than home internet) and you and your kids’ nice clothes (that were hand me Downs) while you used your EBT card. It made me realize that I was sometimes guilty of being that way and led me to your blog which broke my heart for you and your precious children as I learned your whole story. I’d check it from time to time and eventually followed you here, to FB. It makes my heart happy that you and the kids finally have the amazing life you deserved all along! Thank you to touching and teaching so many!

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Wait…what? It is such a powerful story of perserverance and success mixed with humility and humor. How can it not be there? But of course it makes sense that it concludes.
    Thank you for all you have shared and allowed us to be a part of 💛

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    I was going through divorce when I found your blog and trying to live a more nutritious lifestyle. Your blog helped me with both. From your easy recipes for breakfast cookies to feeling solidarity with the disappointment of the justice system. Thank you for writing your blog, but I’m so happy you don’t need to anymore🧡

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    You really did it! I made it out because of your blog and who knows how many people’s lives you have changed!

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    You are an inspiration to us all. Truly. Thank you. ❤️

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    I started reading your blog around your second or third posting…it was shared to me by a friend. I have kept reading it, on and off, since then. I have to thank you with all my heart for teaching this “older” woman that not all is as it seems and to be VERY careful about forming opinions without facts. I’ve always tried to not be judgmental but was apparently not as good at it as I thought. I will miss your blog but will see you on FB….stay STRONG!

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    I’m so proud of you and happy for where you are. I think I have read from almost the beginning. Bless you and your family.

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Best of luck to you. I think after following you for a couple years you’re going to do great. I appreciate you taking the time to reply to messages I have sent you over the years.

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    You and your blog got me through leaving my abusive ex with my kids. You gave me strength and made me feel less alone and less ashamed for allowing myself to choose that life initially. I have loved watching every minute of your story with your new beautiful family, too, and I’m so thankful it turned out so well for you all!! Life is better on this side of things when we accept our past and let it go. 😘

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    Congratulations on your next chapter!!

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    I’m sad but happy for you! I’ve been following you since around the beginning and love how life has turned out for you and your family.

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    Your blog was instrumental in helping me feel less alone while breaking free of a toxic family… a family that tried to condemn and silence me after suffering sexual abuse as a child. I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me. I grew to love you while reading your blog, and it was very easy to to do that. I could see that you are lovable, and it made me begin to hope that I might be lovable. I also appreciated your sense of humor while dealing with all of it. 💙

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    I’m also crying over here Ms. Eden. You helped me through many dark nights. You’ll never know how much you helped me through this.

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    I am never saying goodbye

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    *tears*
    Tears for the girl you used to be, but more for the woman you’ve become.
    ❤️‍🩹🧡❤️‍🔥💚💜

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    Watching you grow and become has been an honor. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story and becoming an advocate

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Your blogs got me through some really rough times. Just knowing someone else was going through the same things, and came out the other side gave me hope. Now I’m on that other side, and I strive to help others like you did me.

  • Facebook
    July 6, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    I came in towards the end of the middle & it has been wonderful & life affirming to watch you progress in this journey called life.
    From reading about your life to being so inspired by how you’ve risen above… Well done. As simple as that. Well done. So very happy for you that you’ve reached the place that you’re at now. 💞💞

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