I'd like to share with you......
How The Internet Changed My Life

    One day my husband had been looking through an ad that had come in the mail when he suddenly approached me. There were some used computers that large companies had gotten rid of and this particular surplus store was selling. He asked me what I thought of buying one and if I'd use it. The price was right, so I agreed and said that maybe I'd use it.

    Well, use it I did! I used it, wore it out and had to buy a new, more up to date one and have also added plenty of disk space to it! It came at a time in my life when I was confined almost 24 hours a day to the house. My youngest daughter is retarded and has a multitude of other problems. She was in a work program but her behavior had gotten so out of hand that she spent more time at home with me than at her program. She's on the level of a two to four year old, for the most part and is very aggressive.

    The internet opened up a whole new world to me! I found a board to post on where grandparents got together to brag about their grandchildren. We all had found one another around the same time and soon became fast friends. They helped me through these difficult times, encouraging me and keeping me company long into the night. My daughter didn't sleep much, either. I also found a board for parents of disabled adults, where I met other parents who were going through or had gone through the same thing I was now going through and yet another board of wonderful women who shared life experiences, thoughts and concerns. They were also very supportive. I don't know what I would have done without these three boards of wonderful people!

    The time had finally come that I was faced with making the most difficult decision of my life. I had to place my daughter in a group home. It was a matter of either doing that or finding myself in an institution or hospitalized because of her aggression. Well, the wonderful internet people that I had befriended were my lifeline! They stood behind me through worry and tears and coached me through, never leaving my side. It was heartwarming, to say the least.

    After I finally placed my daughter, it became even more difficult for me. I found it very hard to accept myself, feeling like I had betrayed God and my daughter. I knew He had placed her in my care because He trusted me to take good care of her. Placing her made me feel like I had let them both down. On top of that, I had no idea what to do with my life. I felt that I didn't deserve a life of my own, didn't deserve to enjoy my life because of what I had done. I decided that my purpose in life was to take care of other people, not myself.

    I had become very close to a few very special internet people through all this and they pushed me and guided me into seeing that I had another purpose in life and definitely was not put here for others, but for myself. They listened and encouraged me to take care of myself for a change and to find my niche, so to speak. They knew the 'real me' was deep inside, yearning to come out. After more prodding and soul searching, I finally remembered that I had always wanted to write. Soon I was writing volumes! Mostly poems but also short stories. It didn't matter what I wrote about but found myself writing about my daughter, about my life and about nature. I loved it and it has been very therapeutic for me. I can't thank these friends enough!

    Another thing that I'd always wanted to do was travel. I was always an adventurous person so when my best friend from the grandparents board invited me to visit her, I decided to take the chance and go. It was indeed, the best thing I ever did! I had just turned 50 and I think this was the first thing I ever did on my own and for myself, at least in more years than I can remember. I had a wonderful time meeting a fantastic friend and her family and was now well on my way to a life I could call my own.

    At the same time I went on this trip, I was invited to visit another wonderful internet friend! I made that trip the day after I got home from the first one! Although I was admittedly nervous, I was excited. Fortunately, this  proved to be another wonderful family and adventure.

    Soon after I was on my way to meeting another and then another!! To date, I've met seven of the most wonderful people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and that's not including their lovely families. It's been incredible!

    It's now the middle of September, a year and seven months since I placed my daughter. I finally woke up one day only a month ago and it hit me like a ton of bricks! I realized that placing her was part of God's master plan for me. I realized that placing her in a safe, loving environment was a part of that plan....that I wasn't just "getting rid of her" like I had thought.

    Had it not been for all of these wonderful internet friends, I know I wouldn't have come half as far as I have and I thank God for them every day. Now, I'm always meeting more wonderful people through the internet and am enjoying their friendships immensely.

    I hope to continue on here always. I have a wonderful family and wonderful friends here at home but know that without my equally wonderful internet friends, I'd be lost and still floundering around, not knowing where I belong.

    Thank you all for being a part of my life.

© 9/14/01 By Susan L. Anderson
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