You know that feeling when you get a twitch in your eye and it feels crazy for a few minutes, then it just stops? Oddest thing when that happens. Well, what if the twitching didn't stop? What if it kept on and then wound it's way down the side of your face, causing half your face to twitch, cramp and contort in spasms? Then that twitching was audible inside your ear, causing a constant dull horribleness of noise that refused to silence or give you any tiny respite of peace? Most of us could imagine this happening for a few hours...maybe even a day or two...but for Diane this lasted for 16 years.
This constant spasming made for a desperately lonely existence for Diane. She struggled with serious depression for large chunks of her life that threatened her very life. This malady made relational intimacy with friends and family a real challenge. She retreated into her own shell. Then 4 years ago Diane had brain surgery to put an end to the grueling spasms that was forcing her into a hermit like existence. Doctors assured her it could take up to 6 months before she would see effects from the surgery.
6 months came and went with no change. Diane felt the stranglehold of depression threaten to pull her under as expectant hope gave way to blinding desperation. She saw the reactions of discomfort day in and day out and had come to believe maybe it was best for her to go somewhere far away and live alone as 'the lady with the crazy face'. She cried out in utter desperation to the Lord in prayer, 'please take this from me.' Then, out of nowhere the surgery produced the results she had so desperately hope and prayed for...2 1/2 years after the initial surgery, the twitching and contorting finally stopped.
Two separate friends exclaimed upon seeing Diane returned to her natural face, "your face is fine!" and Diane says that was music to her ears. She longed for everyone to acknowledge and celebrate with her. In the process of healing she found herself exalted on high and then just as quickly plummeting to lows and a feeling of hopelessness that was pervasive and invading her relationships. She couldn't explain it, it just was. Depression was a very real monster that crept in with little warning at the worst of times in her life.
Then one day on a walk by a river she found a dog that desperately needed care. She and her family rallied around this rescued old golden retriever to care for her and try to find her owners. The owners were no where to be found, so Diane's family took on the task of helping this elderly sick dog that could not walk, was sick, underweight and had a very dirty and matted coat. It appears Little Miss Sunshine (as they affectionately named her), was likely dumped by her owners knowing her health was failing and she was close to death. Diane rallied to raise money to get her cared for by a vet and treatment for a variety of health problems she faced. Diane's family pulled together to help an ailing dog that stole all their hearts in the process. They healed as a family from the devastation her ailment had caused. Little Miss Sunshine was with Diane's family for 4 months before she died, with her head in Diane's lap.
Who knew helping an ailing abandoned dog would heal a family's deep wounds? God did and Diane thanks the Lord for sending Little Miss Sunshine her way. She is celebrating the Lord's goodness to heal her and her family through an unpredictable furry path.
Diane just turned 50 last week and joy is flooding her soul. She wants to celebrate the life God's given her. She is embracing and owning her 50th year and all the beauty and the scars in the madness that has been her life. She is bucking the tradition of dying out the grey and embracing who she is. Her word of the year is PRESENCE and she is full steam ahead to make up for the times she was not. She is finally, for the first time in her life, able to say, "I love me. I love who I am. I love being alive. I need pictures to CAPTURE my real self, and how I think I look. To remind me when I have those dark days, I am valuable. I am worthy. I will and have to get through the dark days." Thank you for sharing your story Diane and I pray that it will help to fuel the courage others need as they walk through their own dark days!
(Several times during this Unveil your Cinderella process Diane welled up with tears...showing her her own beauty was a precious thing indeed. I happened to catch one of the moments after showing her the back of my camera during our shoot...she's trying to dry her tears to preserve her make up.)