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I posted before about my friend who passed away earlier this year. Today, I had a very vivid memory of her and I wanted to share it with you guys. For those who may not recall, Nancy was a precious creature, too kind for this world, warped by the horrific abuse she’d endured at the hands of her birth-givers not to be a monster like them, as they no doubt hoped, but instead the majestic unicorn of sweetness and light that changed my life forever.

Her abuse left her with crippling OCD and social anxiety/phobia. She couldn’t drive a car for fear that she’d get into an accident and hurt someone. She couldn’t touch things that had been on the floor or by other people. Her symptoms were always worse when she was stressed out, and sometimes even the most innocuous thing could set her off. She often battled her disorders without medication, because her doctors felt that she needed intensive psychotherapy or that she was med-seeking, so she went without.

One day, after getting the necessary medications she needed, she agreed to come over to my house, in my car, no less. I was so excited. I drove her to my home extra carefully, taking a route with less traffic so that she wouldn’t be afraid. To my elated joy, when she got to my house, she met my cats by kneeling down on the floor to pet them. One sniffed at her hair, and she laid down on the ground to let her. I was shocked. Normally, something like that would have set her into a major panic attack and I was scared for a bit.

I pointed it out to her, and she said, yes, normally she couldn’t do this, but this (my house, my cats) was a safe place and she felt okay. I came to understand her more than ever that day. I understood it wasn’t the actual dirt that she feared, it was the mental contamination of every day’s stress that weighed her down. And, that being in a truly safe place, with loving people (and animals) let her feel free enough to be herself.

I think about that day a lot. She never did make it to my place again, and since she passed, I’ll never see her again. But that moment, that freedom, that honesty, that peace, is something I’ll never forget. I hold her in my heart always and seek those places in my own life where I can truly lay myself down.