Survivor Voices: Shining Star


This week’s blog is a guest post from “Melissa,” a participant in REACH’s Community Program and a member of our Survivor Speakers Burea. 

On the first year after my split from my abusive marriage, I barely could survive and keep up with my bills. The idea of going through the Christmas season and celebrating was the last thing on my mind. So when I received a letter from REACH asking me for my Christmas wish I was so touched with gratitude.

My daughter would be able to have a first Christmas. I had told myself that it didn’t matter and that she was only a year old, she wouldn’t remember it anyway. But deep down I was heartbroken. I felt so sad that I could not provide for my daughter. Imagine how it felt to take pictures of my baby playing with her Christmas toys, having a new winter jacket and much-needed clothes.

I knew for sure that the person who shopped for me was the most loving and attentive person. They spared no details, even to the suggested colors. The feeling of blessing and gratitude was overwhelming. I have pictures and memories that I will cherish forever.

Last year, I received an actual Christmas tree, because I didn’t have one. With the tree came decorations and a very special star. The hand made star came specially wrapped with a note: “This star was made by my brother and I when we were kids. It’s been through many Christmases and carries lots of love.” I took that star and literally held it near to my heart. I hugged it and kissed it. It brought tears to my eyes that this person would see fit to give me their family heirloom that has traveled through many years of love and joy over many holiday seasons.

It was the highlight of my bag of gifts. It was placed on the top of the tree. I stared at that star many nights during that season knowing that it will bring me love, blessings, and happy moments like many that it had seen before I’m sure. My very own shining star. My star of love, a guiding star. Just like me starting a new journey I bring and hold this star as a token of all the love and joyous memories it holds. I pray to add all new joy, love, hope, and the blessing and happiness of what Christmas brings.

Click here to learn more about REACH’s Holiday Gift Program and how you can make a difference like this in a survivor’s life this holiday season.