I will no longer be a victim

By Skytina Felder-Jones
8th Fighter Wing

SAPR: A silent victim is a victim foreverAs a young child, the horrors of sexual violence arrested my sense of safety, security and the sanctity of my home — robbing me of self-worth, my voice and the development of healthy boundaries.

At the age of four I became a guilt-riddled, withdrawn and a painfully shy child. I was frightened of the world outside of my mother and was petrified by almost all men.

From that time until the age of 19, my self-esteem and self-worth told me I was damaged, unlovable and had nothing of value to say, so I kept my mouth shut most of the time.

Spiritual growth, counseling and a strong network of family and friends helped me flourish. I found my voice, my worth and developed a strong locus of internal control. I was able to achieve my academic and professional aspirations.

I was finally more than that helpless little girl. My faith in humanity had been restored — and then it happened. He came into my life and threatened to undo the lifetime of healing and restoration that seemed as if it only just begun.

No, he was not a stranger. He was my tormentor, my boogeyman: a field grade officer who happened to be my boss. “We are on the same team,” I thought to myself. We have the same goals. “Why can’t you see me as a professional vice something for your own sexual gratification? This cannot be happening to me.”

Most cases of sexual harassment and assault happen subtly. There is a journey, a refined process that offenders and perpetrators take potential targets through. My situation was not any different.

It began with intrusion.

My offender initiated this process with sexual remarks, inappropriate comments and at one point grabbed my arm and instructed to me to serve him dinner at a command Christmas party. I managed to squeak something barely audible as I looked around to see if anyone noticed and would come to my aid. In retrospect, I believe we were all flabbergasted and did not know what to do.

I was embarrassed and frustrated that I did not stand up for myself. At that moment, I was 4-years-old all over again and could not find my voice. My offender, on the other hand, was overtly testing my boundaries to see what he could get away with. My lack of response emboldened him.

As time went by, my supervisor’s behavior toward me became more blatant and frequent. I began to dismiss what was happening. I would tell myself he doesn’t mean anything by it. I became convinced if I ignored the behavior, he would get the picture that I was not interested and his advances were unwanted.

I eventually came to accept he was not going to stop and I would continue to be uncomfortable; just another unpleasant part of life. But, I was strong enough to deal with it, so I thought. We were at the second phase in the process: desensitization.

So now we are four months into incessant and unwanted sexual advances. I was summoned several times to his office under the guise of a work-related task, only to have himself and his male counterparts look me over, ask personal questions and make sexual comments as I exited the room.

I was put on display. It was horribly degrading. The beginning of the end of this hell started when my boss squeezed my upper thigh under the table at a command function in a crowded room.

I was ashamed, hurt and embarrassed. I left the event and went to the equal opportunity office, because I knew I had to do something. I told them of my ordeal and they were more than willing to help me. I asked to be given time to think about what course of action to take. I was leaving for a five-week temporary duty assignment the next day.

I thought I would have a reprieve from the harassment and the potential for another assault. I was wrong. My offender sent emails during my TDY. He called me and basically told me when I returned, it was time to go to the next level and it was no longer an option.

I did not sleep that night. I was scared. I returned to work after my TDY and avoided my supervisor/offender at all costs. I ignored his phone calls. I would peak out my door before I left my office to ensure I did not bump into him.

I would correspond with him by email only. Finally, I was summoned to his office and was asked why I was avoiding him. He informed me I needed to make it a point to see him every day.

The following day I was summoned into his office, again, to be put on display. As I greeted the other male field grade officer present, he openly chided me and I was instructed not to speak to another man. According to him, I was his property.

No longer was I a highly educated professional or valued member of the team. I was there solely for my offender’s benefit. I felt less than human, weak and powerless. I was no longer a 34-year-old capable and confident woman. I had transformed completely into that helpless girl from my childhood.

Not only did my offender interrupt my peace at work, but he invaded my dreams and my thoughts and pervaded every aspect of my life. I became paralyzed and consumed by fear. The quid pro quo in the form of threats relevant to my performance appraisals and job kept me in a constant state of flux. I was a prisoner in my office and in my home.

I was living the hell many of my previous clients, also former victims of violence had described to me time and time again. I was now reliving which propelled me to join the Navy in hopes of escaping my past.

The final breaking point came when my offender began to actively take steps to eliminate my job. Upon my return from my TDY, I found out he had withheld paperwork to extend my job. The organization’s budget personnel hounded him for seven months to submit the paperwork.

Wittingly, the harassment began during the same timeframe. I decided I was no longer going to be a silent victim. I went to the director of our section and notified him of what was going on. I informed him I intended to file a report with the EO office.

The investigation began that day. Asserting the protections that are guaranteed to every military and civilian personnel is not an easy process. During the investigative process, I felt as though I was laid bare and the entire world could see my fear, my shame, my cowardice and my trauma.

I had to tell every sordid detail of my ordeal over and over. It was such an intrusive but necessary process. The investigation completely polarized our office. I was ostracized by people whom I valued and trusted. The morale and the foundation of our once solid team had was decimated. We never recovered. I was blamed by some and heralded as a heroine by others.

I was so afraid no one would believe me. After a 45-day investigation, the charges in my complaint were substantiated and I was relieved, but I did not feel vindicated. My offender’s supporters impugned my character, refused to cooperate with me regarding work-related tasks and completely shunned me. I did find solace in the fact my offender would no longer be able to prey upon the two other women who came forward during my case.

In the end, I was battered and bruised. I had displaced anger and found it difficult to trust any leader. I was angry at myself. The nightmares continued and the world was no longer a safe place for me. I did seek help, but I had gone so far within, it was difficult for anybody to reach me.

I knew I allowed him to change who I was. I was no longer the sweet, jovial and passionate woman I always was. I became a defensive, aggressive and mean woman — a woman I did not recognize.

A year later I saw him as I was leaving a doctor’s appointment and lowered my eyes and head. The voice I was regaining rose up and said, “You have nothing to be ashamed of.” I looked my offender in his eyes until he lowered his head and eyes. He did the walk of shame that day.

At that moment, I was released from the burden of trauma I was carrying around with me daily. I no longer have nightmares and am learning to trust my leaders and people in general again. I smile and laugh daily. That mean girl is gone for good.

The help of the chaplaincy, my spiritual support, victim advocates and mental health provided the way for my peace and love of life again. Not only did they validate my reality, but they brought stability and safety into my world that was turned upside down.

Therapeutic work in counseling provided for healing and restoration. I highly encouraged all victims to seek help. Strength and resilience rests upon our ability to reach out to others in our time of need. Shame belongs solely to the perpetrator.

As I mentioned earlier, there are three phases in the process of sexual harassment and assault. I spoke of intrusion and desensitization: the last phase is isolation. Isolation is the goal of every perpetrator in order to accomplish a full-fledge sexual assault. I am eternally grateful my ordeal never led to isolation.

I am empowered because of knowledge. I am empowered because I am no longer silent. I am no longer a victim.

PHOTO: Skytina Felder-Jones poses for a photo to communicate her stance on sexual assault Mar. 12, 2014, at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. Felder-Jones shared her experience with others so they are aware of their options and that there is life after an assault. Felder-Jones is an 8th Fighter Wing Resilience Program specialist and facilitator. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales/Released)

Airman reveals tough past to help fellow Airmen with future

By Master Sgt. Matthew McGovern
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

140305-F-YN203-002bIt was 1999, and a young weather officer appeared to have everything going for him: a wife, Linda, two handsome teenage sons whom he adored, J.R. and Ryan, and a promising Air Force career for this prior-enlisted officer.

On the surface, things appeared to be going well. However, pressure was mounting that no one could see.

With overwhelming pressure at work, unresolved marital issues, separation from his family and agonizing feelings of extreme hopelessness, on March 11, 1999, Capt. Robert Swanson, decided to end his life.

Thankfully, he survived his attempt and eventually received help through Air Force therapists who want Airmen to persevere during difficult times and seek help before suicide seems like an option.

Fifteen years later, Swanson, now a colonel and the Pacific Air Forces chief of weather operations, knows suicide wasn’t the right answer to his problems and is encouraging Airmen to seek help before life’s issues get too overwhelming.

He found not only the hope he craved, but also life-renewing reasons to keep on living.

“If I could tell this young captain anything, I’d tell him to hang on; the future gets better,” he explained. “I’d tell him he’d miss the opportunity to see his boys grow into young men, and that he’d miss the opportunity to see the pain and agony subside and the chance to see the sunshine again.”

His path to healing was not easy. He met with a psychiatrist almost daily for six months for intense therapy sessions designed to put him back on the path to a healthy state of being.

“I read your file; you’re really good at telling us everything we want to hear,” his psychiatrist told him. “I’ve seen your IQ and you’re smarter than I am. Nothing I’m going to do, or say, is going to get through to you, until you are willing to take a chance, and let me try to help you.”

Only when he was ready to accept his psychiatrist’s advice did he start to heal — and the healing came almost immediately.

“We got rid of the anti-depressants,” Swanson said. “I hated them, and they really interfered with me making real progress.”

His psychiatrist taught him how to look at the world realistically; how to examine different events in his life, sort through his reactions to these events and figure out what is normal behavior and what emotions are distorted.

“People who are depressed have a distorted view of the world,” Swanson explained. “For example, if a depressed person breaks a glass, they feel terrible, like an utter failure as if nothing is ever going to work again properly.”

Since 1999, Swanson learned how to face life’s challenges head on and understands that negative feelings like anger, depression and guilt don’t result from bad things that happen to him, but from the way he thinks about them.

He learned to make changes on his road to happiness including remarrying and accomplishing many of his life-long goals, including earning his Ph.D., completing more than 20 marathons, witnessing his sons graduate from college and achieving the rank of colonel.

“I’m at the happiest point in my life now and I want to show others that they also can make it through and be happy again,” he said.

Swanson went to making the hardest decisions of his life as a colonel — to go public about his suicide attempts in hope of possibly reaching someone struggling with overwhelming emotional pain.

“I’ve been thinking about coming forward for quite some time,” Swanson said. “I can’t help but feel that one of the reasons I’m here, and why I survived two suicide attempts, is to make a difference in someone else’s life.”

With the uncertainty sequestration has on the Air Force, and the ongoing force-shaping decisions affecting every Airman, he thought this was a critical time to come forward.

“I know our Airmen are worried about what will happen next with their careers, will they survive force shaping and if not how it will it affect them and their loved ones,” Swanson said. “It is to be expected that Airmen may be a little anxious, depressed, sad and overwhelmed with emotion and not know exactly how to handle it. Some may even reach the point that I reached on March 11, 1999, when I tried to take my own life — this is why I have decided to come forward.”

Lt. Col. Andrew Cruz, the PACAF chief of mental health services, is hopeful that more Airmen will seek assistance when needed.

“It’s important to understand that seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage and strength,” Cruz said. “The Air Force is doing its best to change the stigma of mental health, primarily through our communication efforts and how it’s characterized. The mental health clinic is just one resource. People can access military family life consultants, Military OneSource, chaplains, behavioral health providers in patient centered clinics, and many other national and local help resources.”

Swanson encourages all Airmen to remember to keep wingman communication lines open and to take the opportunity to seek help from chaplains, mental health, and other trained therapists, if needed — for yourself or others.

“The right mechanism to receive help is different for everybody. It’s finding that right person and getting to the point where you accept there may be an alternative future,” he explained. “Not every psychiatrist, psychologist or chaplain is going to be the right person for that. You’ve got to connect with your therapist, and sometimes it may take similar backgrounds or personalities to make this happen.”

Suicide is a decision that can’t be undone and Swanson is proof that those feelings of depression and hopelessness can be overcome with the right help — life does get better.

“What I know for sure is that suicide is a permanent fix to short-term problems,” Swanson said. “But I can promise you, that if you work hard at changing how you view the challenges we all face in life, you can get through anything — and I mean anything. So I encourage everyone who is a part of our Air Force family to seek the help they need to get them back on the road to a healthier outlook on life.”

The Air Force wants all Airmen to seek help early before life’s problems become overwhelming and lead to distress.

For more information about suicide awareness and prevention, call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 836255 or visit http://www.afms.af.mil/suicideprevention.

PHOTO: Col. Robert Swanson recently came forward to express his desire to testify of a time in which he attempted to end his own life earlier in his Air Force career. Swanson said it’s critical that Airmen keep communication lines open, and to seek out help from a source that works for them and that they can connect with. Swanson is the Pacific Air Forces chief of weather operations at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff Sgt. Nathan Allen/Released)

Deployed mother keeps the bond from 8,000 miles away

By Tech Sgt. Colleen Urban
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Deployments are different after you have a kid. I just never realized how different deployments would be once I became a parent.

This deployment I am a mother. Sometimes I wonder how a mother could leave her 1-year-old baby like I have done, as if I am abandoning my child in some way. Then, I remember the reason why I do it.

It’s not just for me anymore, but for my son. I get through the separation by remaining focused on why I am here.Tech Sgt. Colleen Urban kisses her son.

It all began when I sat at my desk, nine months pregnant, reading the email informing me I would deploy in a year. I hadn’t even had my child yet and already had to think about leaving him. On top of that, my husband was deploying at the same time.

How was I going to do this? How would I be able to handle leaving my new baby boy? How would I physically be able to get on a plane and not look back? More importantly, I asked myself how was I going to ask someone else to care for him.

I didn’t have a choice. I had a duty and obligation I was not backing out of.

Even knowing a year in advance could not prepare me for the emotions I would go through during this deployment. I was just getting the hang of being a mom and I felt as if I would have to start over.

When I saw my son during one of our video calls, he held his arms out as if I was just going to scoop him up. As my son reached for me through the screen of the tablet, whining for me with desperation in his voice, I did everything I could to fight back my tears, but it was no match for the feeling of helplessness that overcame me.

The helpless feeling comes from not being there. I can’t scold him when he does something wrong and I can’t teach him how to do something right, I can’t make him feel better when he is sick or put him to bed at night. Most of all, I can’t hold him, hug him or kiss him — all I can do is keep loving him from 8,000 miles away.

I have watched my son learn to talk, express his emotions and throw a ball all through a small hand-held screen. And, in that tiny box in the top corner, I have watched myself grow.

As each day goes by, it never gets easier, but I get stronger.

The bond that I have with my son is not broken from this deployment, our bond is greater than ever and it will only help me to cherish the moments I do have with him and help me to become the parent I want to be.

My son won’t remember this time, but I will. As long as I am in the Air Force, it is something I could face again. Many parents also face this every day.

So when you look back upon these days, don’t think about what you missed, think about what you gained and what lessons you will be able to pass on to your child. Your strength and determination will make your kid proud to call you mom or dad. That reason is enough to keep me going.

Whatever your reason is, keep doing it, because you are doing something greater for yourself and the future of your child.

PHOTO: Tech. Sgt. Colleen Urban, a 380th Air Expeditionary Wing broadcaster, kisses her son. Urban is currently deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (Courtesy Photo)

A handshake to remember

By Airman 1st Class Aaron Jenne
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The stress finally started to permeate upon the realization that tomorrow I would come eye to eye with one of the most recognized faces in the world.

I was excited since I first received news Jan. 12 that I would get to see Air Force One land at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and possibly have a chance to shake President Barack Obama’s hand Jan. 15.

I received the honor because I had recently been chosen as Airman of the month, along with two others from my office, as a reward for outstanding performance.

Tuesday night, I tried to watch TV and unwind. Each time I came close to relaxing I remembered one more detail needing preparation for the morning. My anticipation for the next day quickly turned to anxiety.

After a restless night, my wife and I got up at 4 a.m. to prepare for our 6:45 a.m. departure.

We talked all the way to Raleigh. Neither of us could believe that we were going to meet the president.

The doors didn’t open until 9:30 a.m. and we got there early to be at the front of the line.

When the doors opened, we were herded to one end of a staging area. Our group huddled toward the front, waiting excitedly. When security released us to the roped off area on the tarmac, we realized we were actually at the back of the room and were some of the last to exit.

As a photographer, I wanted to be at the front so I could take good photos, not to mention I was selfishly hoping for an opportunity to shake the president’s hand.

Air Force One landed and taxied to it’s final destination. The president’s car pulled up between Air Force One and our waiting area, and I thought he would probably get right into his car without shaking any hands.

I was frustrated. All of the things I had planned for weren’t happening. As my hopes for the day were falling through, Obama rounded his car and made his way toward us and everything changed.

I forgot everything. I wasn’t frustrated anymore, I was just excited. My only thought was trying to get a good picture. Holding the camera over my head I was snapping pictures as fast as the camera would take them.

Obama kept getting closer and I kept bobbing and weaving in an attempt to catch him between the people in front of me. Finally he stood right in front of me. Looking through my lens it looked like there was a lot of room between the two people in front of me.

140115-F-OB680-470Then, he was looking directly at me saying something.

“And how are you doing today?” Obama asked.

I lowered my camera in confusion, surely he wasn’t talking to me, but he was, and as I shook his hand three words just floated out of my mouth with no thought on my part.

“Good. You sir?”

In response as he turned to go to the next person, Obama, my commander in chief, gave me the thumbs up.

Then the moment was over, and the camera was back up. He climbed into his car with one final wave, and the motorcade began its long procession away from the airport.

The rest of the day, I told everyone I interacted with that I just shook the president’s hand. Some people didn’t believe me, most were impressed and excited I had this opportunity.

I shared this story because I was excited to meet my commander in chief. He gave me something to aspire to in my military career. I hope that no matter how high I rise in the ranks, how important my mission is or how tight of a schedule I have, I still take time to brighten someone’s day like the president did for me.

I am happy I had this opportunity. I was impressed Obama took the time to ask me how I was, when my only thought was taking pictures. I know that my wife and I will remember this moment for the rest of our lives.

Don’t mourn in black, travel well

By Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mosness
81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Alison Miller, widow of retired Master Sgt. Chuck Dearing, sits in her pink painted vehicle as military memorabilia is displayed on the passenger seat during a travel break Jan. 16, 2014, at the Keesler Air Force Base camp site, Biloxi, Miss. Prior to the death of her husband, Miller told him that her intent was to continue traveling in a pink painted car so that he could find her while out on the road. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kemberly Groue)

In her deep blue eyes, you not only see the sadness, you can feel the grief of her soul. The agony within her comes from losing her husband to cancer last year. A moment later, those blue eyes dance and what you see isn’t that grief, but love — intense, raw love.

This love from within has recently started Alison Miller, the widow of retired Master Sgt. Chuck Dearing, on a trek across the United States — revisiting places she and Chuck visited together.

She is on a journey to spread his ashes, but also take in the beauty of what is happening around her — something she calls magic.

“He wasn’t a war hero, but he served with such dedication and honor,” Alison said of her late husband. “And by God, if it is the last thing I do, everybody is going to know about him and know about our love story.”

With a plan to share their story of love and commitment, Alison set out on a tour of remembrance in her pink SUV and attached pink teardrop trailer, both displaying her slogan decal “Happily Homeless.”

Chuck’s cremains and flag sit in the passenger seat next to her.

Her journey to happy homelessness had its beginning with a simple idea. A little less than five years ago, Chuck and Alison sold all of their possessions and their house in New Jersey after they decided to hit the road. At first, the pair thought they would move to a different state, so the first three months consisted of a lot of driving. Both felt they had to get somewhere, Alison said.

One day on their journey, Chuck looked at Alison and said, “Why do we want to stop doing this? We are having the time of our lives.”

Together they decided to travel the open roads and stay primarily in affordable, military lodging. Though it sounds like something people only talk of, Alison said they were living their dream.

Alison Miller, widow of retired Master Sgt. Chuck Dearing, sits in the doorway of her pink painted teardrop trailer during a travel break Jan. 16, 2014, at the Keesler Air Force Base camp site, Biloxi, Miss. Following Dearing’s retirement, the couple sold their home and belongings and traveled the country for four years staying primarily in base lodgings. Prior to the death of her husband, Miller told him that her intent was to continue traveling in a pink painted car so that he could find her while out on the road. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kemberly Groue)

“He was my home and I was his,” Alison said, struggling with emotion. “We didn’t have anywhere else, and that was OK — I reveled in that. He was everything to me in the most wonderful way.” People always wondered how the two could stand being together all the time, but Allison said they loved every moment of it.

“It was an ordinary marriage, but we were so deeply in love,” she said. “We had a passionate and romantic marriage. One friend used to comment, ‘When Chuck walks into a room, your eyes just light up and when you guys say goodbye to each other it is like you are never going to see each other again.’

“He would look at me across the room and just wink,” she said with a giggle.

Finding Chuck was unexpected, Alison said. After her first marriage ended in divorce, she said she was certain she would never meet any man again, especially since she had three children.

But Chuck changed all her views on love, she said.

The two were married in 1990 and blended their families, his daughter and her three children.

“It wasn’t easy by any means, but we made it work,” she added.

There were ‘whopperdoodle’ fights, but mainly there was love, Alison said. The strong bond of love played an important role in getting Chuck through cancer the first time.

In September 2010, they found out about his diagnosis, but with aggressive treatment, he beat the cancer.

Even after five surgeries, the couple would not let the disease stop their life. They planned to have the car packed and ready to go after Chuck’s post-operation appointments.

“We would wait to get to Kansas and open the moon roof, turn on Willie Nelson and blast ‘On the Road Again,’” Alison said. “We would see those wide open blue skies and say ‘OK, it’s behind us again.’”

The moon roof she shared with Chuck is the reason she was so adamant about having a moon roof in her new vehicle, which is painted in a special customized color — Chuck’s-watchin’-over-me pink, to give Alison courage to go back on the road again, she said.

The reason for all the pink in her life is that Chuck told her not to mourn for him in black — it wasn’t her color. Instead, he told her to wear pink in his honor. Before Chuck passed away, Alison told him she would continue to travel and would paint her vehicle pink so that he could find her on the open road.

In what she calls Pink Magic, her SUV and trailer combo, she is a woman on a mission and has received an outpouring of love from those she meets.

“There’s something happening here,” she said. “I use the words magical, but I don’t know what it is. Chuck is connecting with me and putting signs in my path.”

Alison speaks of those signs coming from every direction. One man, who she calls her Highway to Heaven Angel, told her, “Chuck wants me to tell you he wouldn’t leave you without a road map.” After all, Chuck was a flight engineer and his nickname was Pathfinder.

“Chuck is leading me because that is what he did in my life, he supported and loved me and encouraged me,” she said. ”He told me to find my dreams and he would help me make them happen. And, he is doing that now in a way where he is not physically present.”

The things that keep the blue-eyed woman with the short blonde hair going is not only Chuck’s love and magic, but the memories they had together.

One of her favorite memories with Chuck is their Death Valley dance. The sun was setting on the desert as they drove and it was the time just before dusk when the beauty of the day shines through brightly, she said. The song “Inspiration” by the band Chicago came on and Alison knew she wanted to mark the moment.

She looked at her Chuck and said, “Let’s get out and dance.”

Due to his health problems, she said Chuck didn’t think he could dance, but she asked him to try and he did. Alison pulled to the side of the road and turned up the music. The duo got out of their vehicle and met at the front and danced. For a split moment, Alison almost didn’t pull over because she thought it might be silly, she said.

Chuck ended that dance with a dip like he always did because, “I told him right from the first time we danced that I thought that to be the height of romance,” Alison recalled.

She said she is eternally grateful because it would end up being her last dance with Chuck.

“I will always have that last dance,” she said. “Chuck was always romantic. We never took a moment for granted; we made it count.”

Those lasting moments were vital when Chuck was in hospice care. Alison remembered her final conversation with her husband.

“My last conversation with him was saying goodbye and telling him I would be OK,” she said. “I thanked him for being in my life, for loving me and showing me how to trust again. I told him I would always remember him.

“He told me, ‘You know, I love our children so much and it is hard to say goodbye to them, but it is hardest of all to say goodbye to you. It’s hard to say goodbye to us,’” she recalled.

Dealing with the loss of her husband hasn’t been easy, but Alison said she discovered her own fearlessness.

“I have no fear anymore,” she said. “After losing this man and watching him die in front of me, there is nothing left to fear.”

Alison has expressed this to her children as well and her wish is for them not to worry.

“When the time comes and I die, what I want you to picture in your heads and in your hearts … is that I have no fear, and I am picturing myself lying on the bed wherever I am,” she told them. “Chuck is going to walk across the room like he always used to and hold out his hand for me to dance and he is going to take my hand and pull me up, and we are going to dance.”

Until that final dance with her beloved, Alison continues sharing their story to those who listen.

You can follow Allison on her journey by visiting her blog here.

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