When I started this blog I knew one of the issues would be that I just don’t remember everything that happened. Part of it I have literally blocked from my memory for my sanity’s sake. Most of it has been the passage of time. Some things will never be written here or anywhere as they are simply too painful or too personal for me and my family. We shall see what makes these pages.

But things come back to my memory when I see certain people, visit certain places or, in this case, remember the kindness of a specific person.

I have had the honor of working with and for some pretty amazing people since my first “real” job at the National Cattlemen’s in Washington, DC, in 2000. So many of the people who helped me get through what was going on (outside of my family) were co-workers who had become like family.

The day my mom was indicted, which came 18 months after the fire and after 18 months of utter hell, I was at work at a little company based in Union, Missouri. I was a national sales rep for them. I loved that job (outside of the crazy travel) and still think very fondly about the great people I worked with there. There was a woman in the office, Charla, who had become like a mother to me. She was one of the only people who knew what was actually going on. In fact, she might have the only one but the details of that are foggy. What is still clear as day and as though it happened yesterday, was what she did for me on the day the indictment came down.

I got a phone call from my mom. It was rare for me to be in the office but I am glad I was in town on that particular day. When I hung up the phone I was hysterical. Charla was in a meeting and if I remember correctly it was with some of our executives from Europe. I opened the door (that is how out of sorts I must have been – to open the door on a meeting with the Big Wigs) and mouthed the words to her: “My Mom was Indicted”. Charla jumped up to meet me in the hallway because she mistakenly thought I said that my mom had died. The truth was bad enough but not as horrifying as it could have been. She held me and comforted me for a long time in my office. I was hours from my mom and completely lost and terrified.

I will never forget that day. I will never forget how she cared. And to this day and even though we don’t see each other as much as I would like, she holds a very special place in my heart. I still call her Work Momma.

This is Part One of a series I’ll sprinkle in from time to time about the Work Angels I have encountered on my path. They made my work days bearable when I was dealing with so much at home. They knew my truth and loved me hard when I near broken.

With Gratitude and Hope for the Future,


Founder, Ava’s Grace Scholarship Program
Mom – CEO – Justice Warrior

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