Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Jars Story: 'I will probably never know who is responsible for the Christmas Jar'

Salt Lake City, Utah:

My name is Victoria Millward and My husband's name is Steve. Steve and I have been together for 30 years. We have three grown children and 11.5 grand children. We like so many others have struggles in this life but we have always considered ourselves so blessed. 

Our problems started in 2004 with our then 15 year old daughter. Her name is Beth. Beth was involved with things and people we justed didn't approve of and like a lot of 15 year olds she didn't listen. Beth got pregnant. It wasn't offical to us until she was well into her second trimester at approximately 25 weeks. Still being torn by outside influence and lack of life experience choices to end her pregnancy kept being presented to her by people inexperienced, unfamiliar or distantly connected. Ending the life was never an option for her, both my husband and I promised ourselves and Beth that we would see this through for her and the baby.

April of 2004 Beth gave birth to Lyjah. We had prepared everway possible, or so we thought for her to get her education and be a mother. My husband and I fell in love with Lyjah but our relationship with Beth continued to fracture. Three months after his birth Beth and Lyjah's Father took Lyjah and moved. Our hearts broken we continued to watch him on weekends or whenever she got overwhelmed, which was often. Our love for him and his for us grew and even the off again on again relationship we had with her didn't touch the relationship we had with him.

As I look back over the eight years of his life, ours and Beth's there are many things I would change but the choice to end his life was never one of them. We sacrified many things, for me it was my career and for my husband it was so much more. In 2007 we started to have problems with Washington Mutual Bank the owner of our mortgage. It was continually a battle with escrow shortages, billing issues left uncorrected by the bank. Since we could not get resolve with the bank and the constant threat of them taking our home we sought protection from them in the Federal Court. Pro se litigation is not for the faint hearted and soon I learned that we where in over our heads. My husband could not understand what had been going on or why the bank kept trying to take our home. Our marriage was crumbling and one day he left.

I was hearbroken, I fought the bank, I motioned both State and Federal Courts for help and pleadings that a governing branch investigate the bank and the business practices. On September 24 2008 The Department of Thrift Supervision seized Washington Mutual Bank. The bank continued to operate, continued to pursue our home.

In 2009 the Saints took the Super bowl, My younger brother and Washington Mutual Bank took our home.

In 2010 my husband and I had moved on together we found a nice two bedroom condo on Neff's Lane about 1 mile away from my parents home and my old stomping ground. We had maintained our relationship with Lyjah and his little sister Taneil but we just couldn't get past issues with Beth. Her relationships with both of her childrens fathers failed and neither one of the fathers took responsibility.

Lyjah's father is now in Utah State Prison he has not seen Lyjah since he was four and will not be able to see him for at least another 3 years. Beth became involved with people and life styles which brought law enforcement and repeated criminal offenses.

In September of this year Beth was arrested, we had been given a courtesy call from Unified Police Department to come and retrieve her car when we asked the detective about our grandchildren she was stunned to learn that Beth had not mentioned either Lyjah or Taneil but that she was aware Beth was three months pregnant.

My husband and I found Lyjah and Taneil several hours later in a drug house with several other children. We picked them up with no clothes, no shoes and later learned that Lyjah had not been going to school for seven weeks. We immediately enrolled him in school, we struggled to track down clothing and make our ends meet. Our neighbors, family friends soon learned of our struggles as Grand Parents raising an eight year old and a four year old on a fixed income.

I don't consider ourselves overly proud, I have always been taught to give more than you take and my husband as well. We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the love of our neighbors, the support they have given to us and how much they have reached out.

I will probably never know who is responsible for the "Christmas Jar" but I can tell you that the money in it hasn't been counted but the renewal of my faith for mankind and the human spirit that burns in favor of kindness.

My heart is heavy for good reason but it has been lifted so much by random acts of kindness like this one. I promise to pay this forward and I do 364 days of the year as well, just ask my neighbors, family and friends.

We will have Lyjah aand Taneil for an indefinate amount of time while Beth recovers and may go to Prison. My heart is broken but life has to move forward for the children. Thank you so much for the gift this year, my husband and I so greatful for people like you!



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