21 years ago I was given hours to live. I was neither sad nor scared, in fact I was relieved.  

I had lived 29 years of sheer hell. Trauma upon trauma, abused by those who were meant to protect me.  

Those I had turned to for help had simply used my trauma against me, used it as justification for removing my children.  

I didn't have the strength left to fight anymore. What was the point? To live a life alone? What was my purpose? Who would even care if I died?  

All I wanted before I died was to say goodbye to my boys, to let them know I loved them, to see their faces just one last time. 

But fate would try to deny me even that.  

A freak blizzard surrounded the hospital preventing anyone getting in or out. I got cross. I got really cross! How dare life cheat me again, right at the very end.  

I refused to die. I told the doctors I simply was not going to die until I had said goodbye to my children. They tried, very compassionately, to explain that it wasn't my decision to make. The overdose i had taken had destroyed my liver. My heart was failing and there was nothing more they could do. I could not survive.  

I laughed at them. "Just you watch me". And they did. Often with open mouths and puzzled faces. 

Somehow I beat the odds. I went from buying myself some time to say goodbye, to maybe a lifetime of medication. i eventually left hospital with a fully healed liver.

I went to a refuge to try and put myself back together.

I was done with life deciding what happened to me. From now on I made the decisions, I was in control. I was going to live, for my boys of course, but also for me. I deserved a life, no matter what it looked like.  

I survived the next six years. Just about. 

They were hideously painful and traumatic. 

I had to say goodbye to my children. 

I had to fight to remain in their lives. 

I had to prove I was worthy. 

And I did it all. I still didn't know what my purpose was, what my life would look like but I was determined to find out. 

I found support, my FRG family. They helped me find my voice, helped me see I was worthy of another chance. They lifted me up when I fell and kept me going when I ran out of steam.  

I moved away, cut all ties with the past and started life again. As me. The real me. Not the one in those LA files, not the one everyone thought I was, not the one it was far easier to judge than help. 

Just ME. 

I struggled at first, being alone is hard. 

Then I found a friend.  

A good, kind, strong man who cared about what happened to me. He listened to my stories of horror and held me when I cried. He showed me kindness and compassion. He helped heal some of the hurt. He made me laugh again, often until my sides hurt and I was crying - happy tears at last.  

Then on 28th February 2009, after listening to me cry, letting me release all the trauma that this date inevitably brings, he said something that changed my life forever. 

When I sobbed "Who will ever want me? Who would love someone so broken and damaged?" He simply said "Me, you fool, I will. I love you".  

Fifteen years. Fifteen amazing years. An absolute whirlwind of emotions and he has been there for it all. A beautiful daughter, a wedding, several house moves, a blossoming career, a couple of trips to visit royalty and the magical day my boy came back to me forever.  

He has been there for it all.  

And more than that, he has been my rock through it all. He has worked tirelessly to support us, to pay the bills, to keep us safe, all the while allowing me to campaign for change. Not one single thing I have achieved would have been possible without him. It's far easier to climb when you have a safety net to catch you. 

So today we celebrate fifteen years together and I celebrate twenty one years still alive, still thriving. 

I no longer question my purpose. 

Whatever else life may have in store for me I now know my purpose was to be loved.  

It's as simple as that.