“You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth, so others know they aren’t alone.”― Jeanne McElvaney, Healing Insights: Effects of Abuse for Adults Abused as Children
Terry Paster-Comeau is an Executive Assistant and Social Media Manager, and she works with the non-profit organization, Enviro Project International – First, I would like to thank my wonderful and inspiring friend Jane L. Fitzpatrick for inviting me to tell my story, for I am on a journey to become the best person I can be. Like most of us, there have been many ups and downs along this road of life. I would not change a thing as it has molded me into who I am today.
The first ten years of my life were wonderful and perfect to the outside world. I grew up in Mar Vista, CA. An idyllic suburb in Los Angeles where my father was a very successful builder. He built our home, many others in the neighborhood as well as many establishments in the area including our synagogue. Later he became a home builder to A-list stars and my brothers have taken over the business. I was one of four children: Gary, Sherry, Terry, and Barry. Everything was for the children, i.e., Brownies, dance lessons, vacations, etc. We even had a nanny flown in from England to watch over us.
All of this came to a screeching halt when my father left my mom for a younger woman. After this my mother fell apart and my father’s new wife didn’t want him to have much to do with us. Therefore, there were many years of moving around and neglect. I always say that I raised myself.
All of this set me up to be with, and marry, an abusive cocaine addict who was the father of my three children. Thankfully, today he has been rehabilitated for 25 years and we are friends. But back then, this put me on my spiritual journey to wellness. I got into Al-anon and put my children in 12-step programs from the time they were toddlers, to understand the dynamics of what was happening in our home
I’m happy to report that I healed enough to later remarry a wonderful, loving man for 20 years. We separated three years ago but remain close friends. I went through ten years of severe chronic pain for which doctors put me on pain meds and I had to go through heroine like withdrawals to get off them. It will be five years in August that I have been drug-free. Those years of physical pain taught me to reach out to others around the world who suffered. This got the focus off my own struggles and sent me on my virtual journey of connecting with others.
My second husband and I lost all our worldly possessions in The Thomas Fire in Ventura, in 2017. The day after the fire my gallbladder exploded, and I spent two months in the hospital with no home to go to and no possessions.
My second marriage ended in March 2020, which was the first month of Covid. In that July, I discovered a lump in my left breast which was a recurrence of breast cancer. I got the diagnosis while sleeping on my daughter’s couch. I have subsequently gone through two years of chemo, multiple surgeries, and radiation. I’m happy to report that I am cancer free today.
I have parlayed my large presence on social media of over 20K followers to connect with others that struggle and to give them hope. Which has connected me with many wonderful and like-minded individuals worldwide. As a result of this, I am now a member of a non-profit organization called Enviro Project International where we are establishing eco-friendly villages to feed and house the homeless.
Every day that I wake up is a celebration I do not take for granted. I live in a lovely apartment across the street from the ocean in Southern CA. I have three of the most awesome adult children a mother could ever imagine as well as three beautiful grandchildren. I dance, sing, walk up to 5 miles a day and just enjoy every second that I have on this planet.
Thank you for reading my story. I am always here for those who need a listening ear, whether it is about domestic abuse, chronic pain, alcoholism or drug abuse, cancer, homelessness, or any other matter. My higher power has been wonderful to me, and I long to pass on what I have learned along the way.
Peace, love, and light always my friends,