Dancing Women

QUEEN SURVIVORS, you are not a victim, 

YOU ARE VICTORIOUS!

If you are a Queen Survivor and have a story that you would like to share, 

let me know and I'll post it here.

FAITH

HOPE

COURAGE

STRENGTH

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SURVIVING COVID-19, MY LIFE, MY FAMILY, MY STORY!

My name is Elaine Harrison from Somerset New Jersey, I'm a CNA at a nursing home in N.J. I've been taking care of the elderly for almost 30 years and although my job is demanding, emotional and exhausting, it's always has been a wonderful experience for me throughout the years. My job is very fulfilling and I love helping and taking care of them while meeting some great and loving people along the way, it has impacted my life in a profound way. However, due to Covid-19, 2020 has been one of my least favorite years yet. This has become our new normal and not in a good way. Caring for the elderly and watching them get sick and then dying from it, makes me feel helpless and the sadness I feel for them and their families are unmeasurable. My heart aches as I prayed for them but no matter what, I press on to take care of them. At the same time, I'm always praying that my family and friends are safe and well. However, the virus is rampant and out of control so needless to say, my family and friends were infected and affected as well. I say affected because even if they weren't infected they all were like everyone else in the world, affected by this pandemic in some shape or form and none of us could ever fathom that something like this could happen so close to home. When I say close to home, my mother was infected.  Yes, my beloved mother.

 

Rewind to the past. My mom was and still is suffering from dementia, and my family and I had to make the heart-wrenching decision to send her to a nursing home, for her safety and to receive the proper care that she needed. We were not successful with placing her where I worked but we did find an alternative that we were happy with.  Fast forward to the present.  One day, we received the dreaded call that she tested positive for the virus, we were scared but we also had faith that she would recover from it.  So many senior citizens in nursing homes have passed away in N.J. but we had hope and we stayed prayed up and by the grace of God, she recovered.  During this time, the hardest part of all; was knowing that she was alone and without us because we were not allowed to visit.  They had banned visitations due to the threat of spreading the virus. Understandable but also debilitating, there was nothing we could do about it so we just patiently waited and put our trust in the Lord, the staff, and the Doctors.  After she recovered, we were still unable to visit but relieved to know that we could do a video chat.  Just to see her beautiful face and that infectious smile, was all we needed.  Nothing but tears of joy, for such a priceless moment but I must say, the whole experience was bittersweet because there's more to this story.  My aunt, my mom's sister, was in the same nursing home as my mom.  Matter of fact, she was there first.  Covid-19 was still on the rise and widespread amongst staff and patients, so they were evacuated and transported to different nursing homes.  Sad to say, they separated them. Looking back, years ago my aunt suffered from a stroke and never recovered from it, and just like myself and my siblings, her children had to make the difficult decision to send her to a nursing home as well.  Despite her illness, she was a firecracker, always full of life.  Seeing both of them together was always a happy moment for us.  We loved their love for each other and their bond was unbreakable.

 

However, those moments are now forever embedded as memories. The separation did more harm than good. My aunt passed away within a couple of days of being moved. We were completely shocked and devastated because she was just fine before the move, and we were surprised to find out that it wasn't because of the virus.  To this day, we believe she died of a broken heart from being separated from my mom, her beloved sister whom she loved very dearly. God rest her soul.  The virus changed everything, the way we mourn and the way we attend funerals.  My story is not over yet, the most shocking moment of all is that I also was infected.  If I didn't know before, I know now that no one is exempt from catching this ugly virus, not even me a CNA!  I thought I was so safe, I was being so careful and because of the stay-at-home order, I didn't leave the house for months except to go to the store and work and back.  I thought I was doing everything right, even after the order was lifted. Honestly speaking, I still had some doubt but I still eased back into society because I needed some type of normalcy but I guess it wasn't the right time because unbeknownst to me, I still ended up getting the virus.

 

Funny because I can recall the very moment where it may have happened. The good news is, I fully recovered but looking back at my experience with covid-19, it was like no other illness that I've ever had in my life. I had severe aches and pains throughout my body, I coughed a lot and couldn't breathe at times, I was always sleepy and would sleep every half hour. It was very scary and nothing like flu symptoms and to this day, I still have lingering symptoms! I also quarantined for 15 days in my guest room, while my wonderful husband took care of me day and night. God bless him and I'm so thankful for him.  It's great to have survived this and without any hospitalization. FYI: Please go to the hospital if you need to, my case was not severe enough to go but please go if you are having symptoms beyond your control.  The takeaway, even though I would love to forget, I'll never forget this horrible experience. My message to you today is, you can never be too sure or too trusting of the people or places around you. Always be safe out there, no matter where you're at or who you're with because it can happen to you too!! Lastly,  just know that we are all in this together and we will get through this!

FEARLESS

FIGHTER

My name is

SHERRY GILLUS

and

THIS IS MY STORY

of domestic violence

and

health and wellness!

Sherri Gillus

My name is Sherri. Known to my childhood friends and family, as Sharon. I've gone through many life-altering situations, yet, I’m still holding on and am here to share pieces of me, with you. Why am I sharing portions of my journey? Because out of my brokenness. God can, and God will use me to make someone else whole. Back in the mid to late ’80s, I experienced what is known today as TDV – Teen Dating Violence. Because I witnessed my mom and grandmother being abused and never spoke against it or their abusers, when the first time I was slammed to the ground, kicked, punched, and beaten as if I was a formidable opponent who stood a chance against the young man who days earlier had professed his love for me.  

 

I had no idea when he allowed me to get up from the ground and told me to leave his backyard, I was supposed to do just that and never look back nor come back.  Life had a way of teaching me lessons I refused to learn the first time around. After 3 years with “Dre” and support from family and good girlfriends, I walked away from him and into the arms of “Steven”. The abuse inflicted by “Dre” was verbal, emotional, and physical. With “Steven” it was 90% physical and lasted a year.  Through those tumultuous years, I knew that many people knew what I was enduring.  Knowing that, I often thought; what man would want me? The answer was - the one sent by God himself!

THE OLD ME

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

THE NEW ME

By the Grace of God

Because God wanted me to know what it felt like to be truly and unconditionally loved by a man, He created a MAN just for me!  That man was (William) and we married in 1991. Eventually, our careers began to flourish, we purchased our home, began eating good, and ultimately, the happiness ‘weight’ landed on the lower half of my body. By 2010, I was my heaviest to date and needed to do something. After working out on my own, with little success, I hired a personal trainer. With Earl’s guidance, over the course of 8 months, I looked and felt great. By September 2011, our time together had come to an end, but another client mentioned Tadda’s Fitness Camp to me. I found LaTasha’s (owner of T.F.C.) location and with that, my forever fitness home. Through T.F.C., I was introduced to running. Twenty-twelve was the year I participated in my first 5k race. Since then, I have run many 5k’s, several 10k’s, 2-15k’s, a few relays, and 3-half marathons.

 

Because I now have arthritis in both knees, my doctor has strongly advised I retire from running races and running on the pavement altogether. The words concerning my long-term prognosis devastated me, but in the winter of 2019, I was introduced to weight-lifting. I know when something is removed, God allows something else to fill the void left open. I can now say, the passion I had for running, has been transferred to lifting weights. However, there are still days, weeks, and months I struggle to eat right and exercise regularly. The beauty is that each day God blesses me to wake, I get another opportunity to try to be better than the day before. Being broken spiritually, physically, and emotionally takes time, work, and dedication, to heal and become whole again. Currently, I work at a shelter for homeless women and children. April 2016, I became a Widow.  To date, I use my voice and platform to motivate others and I never hesitate when asked to speak and share my Journey. By the grace of God, I am so blessed!