I recently watched the movie, Philomena, with Judi Dench.
This is a true story that takes place in 1952, Irish teenager Philomena (Judi Dench) became pregnant out of wedlock and was sent to a convent. When her baby, Anthony, was a toddler, the nuns took Philomena's child away from her and put him up for adoption in the United States. For the next 50 years, she searched tirelessly for her son.
As I watched this movie, I couldn't help but think of the similarities between Philomena and my cousin Judy.
Judy grew up in Canton, Ohio and she was one year older than me. During her senior year in high school, Judy became pregnant with her boyfriend's child. Being pregnant in the 70's, out of wedlock, and her being caucasian and the father being African American was something my aunt, (Judy's mother) absolutely would not tolerate. Judy was also sent to a convent when it was time to give birth to her child; a sweet baby girl.
The nuns lied to Judy and told her they had a beautiful home for her baby girl and parents who would be able to love and nurture her daughter. Having no one to turn to for help, Judy was forced to give up her baby. Judy spent her whole life searching for her daughter and finally found her 25 years later. It was a heart wrenching story that made the local Canton paper.
The sad part about Judy's story was that shortly after Judy gave birth to her baby girl, she became addicted to alcohol to numb the pain and loss of her daughter. Even after being reunited with her daughter and discovering she also had a granddaughter, it was too late for Judy to control her alcohol addiction.
Judy died of complications from alcohol just a few months ago and my heart truly went out to her.
It is so easy for someone who has never had an addiction to judge a person's reasons for choosing old habits over the opportunity to replace negative habits with positive habits.
I wanted to share Judy's story for two reasons:
#1: After watching Philomena, Judy was on my mind a great deal and I wanted to honor her memory and journey in some way.
#2: I would ask every woman reading this blog to stop and think about the choices you make every single day. Do your choices Empower you or do they Dis-Empower you? It wasn't that long ago that most of the choices for women were made by someone else. Too many women have fought too hard to bring awareness to create a world where women can feel Empowered for women to live in "victim mode."
Ladies, YOU have the power to create the life you want to live. It is time to stop hiding behind excuses, avoiding the truth, living in "victim" mode and hiding your light. It is time for you to shine brightly, let the world see your strengths, your creativity and be LOUD & PROUD about who and what you are.
If you are a women in transition, someone who is seeking to discover her strengths, her brilliance and what makes you the unique gift that you are, connect with us at www.nancymuellerglobal.com
If you are not sure where to start on your journey to discovering your greatness, we have so many opportunities to get you started. We offer free podcasts, books to get you started, webinars, coaching, mentoring and being part of a group for like-minded women. NEVER let someone tell you "it can't be done" and NEVER be "LESS THAN" in an effort to make someone else feel "more than" because all women are living proof of a strength that boggles the mind.
Every woman who has gone before you and has struggled to overcome trauma, challenges, grief, sadness, abuse, hurt, neglect or poverty can be a beacon of hope for each of us. Please remember: you matter, you are loved and you are awesome!
In memory of my loving cousin, Judy Appleby 1956 - 2015
Remember: Life Is All About Choices - Choose to be Empowered!
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