Back in November 2013 I introduced you to my friend Anne (click on her story here)
When I transport myself back to that time in my life I begin to sweat and my breathing gets laboured. Still to this day I have never been apart of something so traumatic – watching a mother have her children ‘stolen’ from her with no evidence outlining Anne to be an unfit mother was preposterous to me, to Anne, and everyone else who heard about her situation.
Anne’s life continued like this for more than thirteen weeks and no authoritative figure (spanish or english speaking) could tell her when her children would be returned. Anne never gave up, her survival instincts just grew stronger and stronger, the expat community who were privileged to Anne’s circumstances rallied around and provided her with food, money, spiritual healing and comfort when her darkest hours closed in on her.
What Anne experienced during this time in Santiago Chile is too long and detailed to describe here. Besides, that is Anne’s story to tell when she is ready. What I can say is, no amount of ‘foul play’ that was directed at her could slow Anne down and stop her from pursuing her ultimate goal of having a one-way ticket back to Canada for her and her children.
Canada is a place of hope – it represents freedom for Anne, where her rights as a mother, and a women can be heard fairly and without prejudice. It is the birth place of her children. In Canada Anne can never have her children ‘stolen’ from her again, she will be safe, fed, warm, receive shelter and have access to her money.
Back home in Chile every morning when Anne placed her feet on the ground she wondered if today was the day she would hold her kids in her arms. She sent many prayers to her lord and in the depths of her despair she still found time to pray for the people in her birth country displaced by famine and those needing medical attention.
You just could not break Anne’s spirit.
The longer I have Anne in my life I realise it is in her DNA. Strength, resilience, determination, faith, love, honesty, fairness, equality and the undying love of children encompasses her total being.
She stands tall, she walks tall, and she lives with strong faith that all would be repaired. God Bless her, because I couldn’t see past the blur of distrust, dishonesty, lies, and hate that her estranged side of the family was bowling at her EVERY.SINGLE.DAY !!
I will never forget this date, Friday December 20th, 2013 – the day when Anne would get her wish, she would exit Santiago Chile on the same plane as her children (and estranged husband) – although he did everything in his power to make sure it wouldn’t happen, even right up to boarder control (hiding children in the airport, oh it goes on….)
Anne’s faith and perseverance paid off, the light in Anne’s future was beginning to illuminate brightly once again. This woman would not be knocked down, she would finally get to be with her children on a plane bound for Canada.
I embraced my friend for the very last time, part of me didn’t want her to leave – I felt like her protector and I was so scared for her that nobody would be there for her in Canada. Who would look out for her when I will be so far away. The other part of me was “would you just get on that plane and get the hell outta here, go on and get and take all your shit with you”
I moved towards the exit doors at the Santiago International Airport and waited for them to part like Moses was dividing the Red Sea. I walked out into the open air, my lungs emptied with all the pain I was carrying for my friend, my heart filled with joy to see a mother and her children reunited. I did a little heel click, kissed the air and I shouted upwards to the sky –
“gimme an amen sista – I can’t hear you!”
“AMEN SISTA !!!!”
The expat housewives of Santiago did it, we got Anne on that plane, destination Canada, and hope for her future.
Anne’s story is ongoing, she is living a full life in the West’ish coast of Canada, she has shared custody with her children, she is studying, has wonderful friends to support her and believe in her and she is pursuing her amazing musical career.
One day I hope Anne will pen her life stories in a book, for all women to hear and read. Her story from childhood in Sierra Leone to life beyond the ‘theft’ of her children is an absolutely triumphant story to be told, and it is my dream that every women will get the chance to know it.
On this International Women’s Day 8th March 2015, what better way to recognise and celebrate all you Anne my friend have achieved.
God Bless you Anne, you are my hero.