Sunday, December 8, 2013
KIVA Loan Started in Honor of My Mother -Joyce D. Patterson-
Many people think that those who are buried at White Tanks Cemetery are people who have no one that cares about them. They are often described as junkies, tramps, transients and other unpleasant words. But I set out to correct that reputation and set the record straight. There are many people who have been buried there in error and who do have family that loved them very much...
My mother, Joyce Darlene Patterson, is one of those people. Yes, at the time of her death she was a transient (homeless person). Yes, she was an alcoholic. Yes, she left Ohio and traveled to Phoenix and chose to estrange herself from her family-- but she also had SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS. She suffered significant abuse in the early years of her life which caused her to have Disassociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personalities. So I am not sure that her long term estrangement from her family, her children, was entirely voluntary. I have a serious suspicion that her condition got worse as she had no insurance and was unable to get treatment for her illness. Either way- the point is that she was a PERSON with a heart. She may have been a broken person, but she was a person. And individual... A daughter, sister, mother, aunt and God-Mother.
When her condition was being treated and she was able to live somewhat normally, she was a creative person who loved to do crafts. She was always trying to make a buck by attending flea markets with her various projects that she taught me to make. She held a job at the McDonalds as a manager for many years. Unable to drive, she would walk me all the way across town to the goofy golf place to play a game and get an ice cream cone. She walked me a long distance across town in other direction to take me to the best park ever that had the huge hill that I loved to roll down... and just because I wanted her to- she rolled down it with me! Even when she wasn't working, she would scrounge up just enough money to be able to walk me to the family dollar and get me a special toy. She taught me how to bake. She pet my face until I fell asleep. She woke up to hold me when I had a bad dream. She told me every day that she saw me- that I was God's gift to her- her special angel sent straight from Heaven. When she saw someone who looked like they were in distress, she would stop and ask if there was anything she could do. She signed up for nursing school, but was dismissed because she was tending to a pregnant woman going into labor and when the woman begged her to stay cause she was scared... she stayed with her (instead of going for a doctor).
Despite all the terrible things that my mother endured as a youngster, she still had a love for mankind, for the world. She still tried to always see the good in things. She was a sweet, generous, caring individual... but no matter how hard she tried, she was overtaken by her demons of alcoholism and mental illness.
She left me when I was only 14. She had already lost custody of me to my father and she just couldn't seem to keep her head above water no matter how hard she tried. A couple years after she left, she called me SO EXCITED that she had finally beat the alcohol and she had reached a year of sobriety. When I told her how bad she broke my heart by leaving... her response was, "I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt you. Your dad was getting married and I figured you would be better off without me. I knew your dad's new wife would take better care of you than I could. But I have missed you every day Nikki."
So, for my sake, she swallowed her pride and walked away... trying to better my life. She knew that she couldn't be cured of her mental illness and the only way she knew how to deal with it was to drink... so, despite the fact that it hurt her to leave me and she missed me so much- she did what she thought was best for me. This again proves how unselfish she was...
So to redeem my mother's untimely and early death-- I feel that I need to do as much good as possible in her name. She couldn't do it because of her illness, so I will do the things she wanted to do on her behalf. I will live each day to the fullest to honor her sweet spirit. She is finally relieved of her illnesses now and I will do God's Work as she had always told me-- "God has something special planned for you!"
In honor of my mother and her generous and kind spirit, Jeff Knapp has started a loan in my mother's name. The loans assist women in poverty stricken countries so that they can start their own businesses. I think this is perfect, given that my mother had tried so many times to have her own craft business- always selling something homemade. I am excited to see all the good that is being done on her behalf!
Below is the information about the Joyce D. Patterson KIVA Loan