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In Her Own Words: A Writer’s Return from the Elysian Fields

In Her Own Words: A Writer’s Return from the Elysian Fields

By 'Buffy Summers'

(Author's note: In Greek mythology, “The Elysian Fields” were the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous.)

"As you carry the light in you it is imperative you return. You have to bring the light to the dark place.”
"As you carry the light in you it is imperative you return. You have to bring the light to the dark place.”

It is the business of writers to tell stories to others. It is time for a story, a hell of a story. Of having everything and unexpectedly losing everything and everyone I cared about. My story is one of symphonies of darkness, and light surrounding me. Of pure chaos where resided the good, bad and ugly. Like diamonds, I was subjected to unimaginable pressure. In science, no pressure, no diamonds. I wrapped myself in my writing. On the long dark path I found I could come up with some pretty good stories. Like Hemingway, I observed the vagaries of life and reported them with the cool objectivity of a scientist; all facts and nothing else. Stories based on my experiences and the life I led then, in direct opposition to the one I had some years back, and am presently in the process of recapturing; stories of this remarkable time, horrific and extraordinary at the same time.

I had two facades to keep myself hidden. Few knew except those who were close intimates of mine. I became the successful writer wherever I found writing sanctuaries. In contrast, redefinition of my identity, my purpose, my reason for being when dealing with the Social Services and Social Security and partnering systems which are as broke as they come was imperative. Within this dilemma were a percentage of individuals, masters at playing the system. I finally found myself in a terrible quandary. Do I remain true, or do I gamble, fit in the category that applies and win the day?

For a writer who goes by Hemingway's law: “Write one true sentence,” it was and remained a hell of a lot to swallow. Risk factors had to be considered for the right decisions to be made. The programs available to such displaced individuals were closed to me. The sole options: drop-ins, shelters and hypothermia centers left an unsavory taste in my mouth and no wonder...I realized I was an object of curiosity, a collectible, depending on who was doing the observing. There was a hidden succinct understanding that everything was acceptable including personal violation of any kind within said environment. Things continued to deteriorate to an unbearable point.

Immunity, health and safety, long forgotten memories, brought on extreme malnutrition, starvation and eventually, finality. Life went on. Disciplined, I was absolutely determined to finish the race winning. However, at year eleven, my resistance finally imploded. I found myself in the ICU one last time. The final dance. The last reserve of strength left. I was fine with it. But apparently the entire medical staff was not. Neither were my maternal grandmother and my mother speaking to me from the other side, who said, “You can rest here for a time, however, you have to go back when you are strong enough to sustain the impact. It is not your time and no one tells the stories like you do. If you leave there will be no one to take your place. As you carry the light in you it is imperative you return. You have to bring the light to the dark place.”

Upon release from hospital, Pathways mysteriously appeared on the scene and worked towards placing me in a home of my own. Once in the sanctuary I had been endlessly seeking, it took three long years to come back. Extensive medical care was needed, coming back was almost impossible. Nevertheless, here I am. Writing.


In His/Her Own Words gives consumers of Pathway Homes the opportunity to share the story of their journey toward recovery.  Some of the consumers we feature choose to disclose their identity while sharing deeply personal moments in their lives.  Others choose not to disclose, but their stories of resilience are no less powerful.  Our author this month writes under the chosen pseudonym to represent determination and strength of character in overcoming society's stigma.

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