Jessica, 2016 Graduate

When I was 15, I was in an incredibly abusive relationship. I was abused physically and mentally. I stayed in that relationship for over three years and by the end of it I just felt so damaged from the torment I faced for so long.

Fast forward to a few years after that, in 2008, I gave birth to Jayda, the most beautiful little girl. The moment I became pregnant with my daughter the life of chaos I was living before having her ended and I felt like I had a second chance at life. She was so beautiful; she was my heart, my soul. My heart beat for my little girl.

After Jayda was born, I could tell she wasn’t developing the way she should be. After taking Jayda to the pediatrician and a couple specialists, I was told that Jayda was blind. I was also told that she would spend most of her life in a wheelchair. I remember at that time feeling a complete sense of acceptance coming over me. I didn’t care that she was blind or in a wheelchair; she was mine and she was perfect.

Just over a year of Jayda being with us, she started making these weird and unfamiliar movements. My brother Cam and I rushed her to the hospital and she was seen right away. She was having seizures. We couldn’t believe it. After several tests and witnessing my child become a human pin cushion, it was decided she needed to be transferred right away to children’s hospital. After further testing, I received life-shattering news: I was told that Jayda had a life-threatening condition called Panhypopituitarism.

The next seven years of Jayda’s life, she was very, very sick. It broke my heart to watch my daughter lay helpless in a hospital bed through countless surgeries and intensive care with a breathing tube down her throat. I was her mother; I wanted to protect her from pain and I couldn’t. I just had to sit there and watch. I can’t even begin to describe how hard it is to watch your child suffer an indescribable amount right in front of you. Jayda’s disease was getting progressively worse.

One night, I was called in to the hospital for what seemed like the millionth time to discover Jayda’s skin was turning purple and she was struggling to breathe. This was a normal occurrence. A doctor told me that he had to get a line into her heart to get meds into her fast. Another doctor started to drill a hole into Jayda’s chin. Jayda was screaming the loudest I ever heard her scream. Something inside my head switched that night and I thought if I had to see Jayda suffer one more time I just couldn’t be around to see it. My best friend, my sunshine, my happiness could all be taken away from me. This began a pattern of attempts to no longer be here.

After seeing a physiatrist, I was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder. I realized at this time that I was too unwell to care for my daughter. I ended up making the decision to put Jayda into a temporary care agreement. Jayda went into foster care while I healed and sought help. Jayda was five at the time and it broke my heart. I felt such a longing for her. Jayda spent most her time in the hospital. I would visit her all the time and spend lots of nights with her. But all of this was still making me depressed because I was still watching her suffer. I continued to drink to ease my pain.

On December 26, 2014, Jayda became unconscious at my house and stopped breathing. She was brought to children’s intensive care and was close to death. They didn’t think she would make it through the night. I felt the worse I had ever felt in my life and that’s when I knew I could no longer do this in my own strength and that there had to be something more out there. An amazing friend told me about Mercy Canada because she was deeply concerned for my well-being.

The moment I walked through the doors of Mercy I felt this amazing sense of relief. God showed up so strong for me and began to show Himself to me more and more every day. I always knew that there was a God, but I didn’t know that I could have a personal relationship with Him. The incredible staff at Mercy Canada guided me, loved on me, and prayed for me. They showed me how to have an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. I fell in love with Jesus. For the first time in my life I knew what rest truly meant. I would like to share this verse from the Message edition of the Bible:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything ill-fitting on you. Keep Company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Mathew 11:28 -30)

That’s what Jesus did for me. On August 5, 2015, three months after I entered Mercy Canada, Jayda passed away and went to Heaven. Thanks to Mercy Canada, I was at her bedside, clear-minded and sober.

Mercy Canada has completely transformed my life. I’ve literally gone from feeling hopeless to feeling hopeful and dreamless to dreaming.