Now, comes the time when I start talking about my life. The deeper stuff, the more painful stuff. Lessons that actually change people are not little. And for me to be the compassionate woman I am today, well, it was a long journey. I had a very,very happy childhood. Magical, really, the childhood people dream of. a beautiful house in the country with pets, and gardens, and passages, and books. But there are always say,three days, in your whole life that change your course utterly. Mine was a day when I was a senior in high school. I was sick that year. For the ENTIRE year. Lyme Disease. My mom had been diagnosed with cancer, but at that time, there was hope. For us kids anyway. Our parents, in retrospect, knew better. One day, my mother woke me up from my nap. She was absolutely ashen, but calm. And she told me I "needed to start packing." She didn't specify what. I didn't understand. So, while she went to pick up my sisters at school, I looked around....and thought about what I should pack. I decided on an overnight bag, with a small photo album, and only a few days worth of my clothes. I sat and waited. My mom came home and was upset. She had meant the whole house. I have no idea where my father was-I found out later he was unreachable in court. This was the house I grew up in, spent my whole life in. And we walked out with my cat, my dog, and overnight bags. My parents put everything in storage, which we ended up never retrieving. My last memory of my house was clutching my cat and looking over my shoulder at the house getting farther and farther away. After a moment, I looked forward. I would be lying if I said I didn't know life as I knew it was over.