Celebrating Mother’s Day with Feliz

Single mother Feliz C. is a familiar, well-loved face at Esperanza Shelter. Those of us lucky enough to have met her know that she has a lot to celebrate this Mother’s Day. She recently graduated college with an associate’s degree and certificate in accounting. Feliz’s four children, ages 15 to seven, were proud to have attended her graduation ceremony and they’re all looking forward to the summer months. Her future, however, did not always look so bright.

Feliz’s children probably don’t understand just how hard it is for a single mom to raise kids, go to school, and put food on the table. But unlike other children, these kids already know their mother is a survivor in the real sense of the word.

Feliz lived with her abuser for years, not yet able to find her way free. One day, he beat her so severely that she sustained a life-threatening head injury. Feliz was rushed by helicopter to an Albuquerque hospital where doctors admitted her to the ICU. Doctors were concerned that even if she did pull through, she may suffer from brain damage. Feliz doesn’t recall the helicopter ride or the first days in the hospital, but somewhere deep inside, her journey from victim to survivor had begun. She beat the odds and made a full recovery. And then Feliz took her children and headed to safety at Esperanza Shelter.

After years of individual and group counseling at Esperanza Support Center, Feliz has grown strong. She credits Esperanza and her faith for providing the resources that have allowed her to leave a life of abuse. “I grew up in an abusive household,” Feliz explains, noting that she didn’t know any other kind of life. “But Esperanza gave me the tools and skills I need.” Feliz adds, “I finally have learned how to build healthy relationships.”

Feliz’s story is, unfortunately, only one of many tragic stories of women and children being abused. For more than forty years, Esperanza Shelter has embraced these women and children and helped them find peace. That is something to celebrate!