Linda Ivy has only known a life of hardship. She was forced to grow up at a very young age because of adversity in her life. It wasn’t until Vinfen came along that she was able to find peace and feel at home. She finally, at the age of 67, found her community, her tribe, her Vinfen.
Before receiving services from Vinfen, Linda experienced years of hospitalizations. She attended day hospitals, but never felt loved and cherished by staff or her peers. “When I came to Webster House this past January, the minute I walked in I said, ‘oh my God, this is my home away from home,’” Linda expressed. “Webster House, from the bottom of my heart, is for me.”
Linda grew up in a family where her mother faced many mental health challenges and was placed in an asylum, and her father, whom was a WWII hero, had a double amputation of his legs. She had to grow up very fast to take care of her parents. With her biggest supporter, her father, passing away at the age of 68, Linda felt like she had no one that loved her, which was quite difficult because she has so much love to give. Her father was her biggest supporter and left this world feeling proud of Linda for earning her bachelor’s in English. After his death and through the years, Linda felt lost. “I have no loved ones. My own family rejects me because of the affliction,” she explained.
Linda has experienced many traumas in her life. She has been physically abused, has never felt accepted by people, and faced rejection by her siblings. The holidays especially can be a cruel reminder of such devastation from her past. “They don’t invite me anymore to 4th of July, Memorial Day, any kind of holiday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, none of that. And I don’t have my own children, I just have my pets. Those holidays, I use to have with my soul mate, but he passed away a year ago. We spent the last 7 years going to Thanksgiving together because his family rejected him too,” Linda disclosed.
The holidays can be harsh, and a very sad time for Linda. She tries to keep smiling through the pain and continue to develop her new loving and welcoming community at Vinfen. “I feel joy because I learn how to laugh and smile. I learn how to love myself without them. And this place has been a family. Everybody is kind, the karma is wonderful, there are variations of ages, so I don’t really feel my age as a senior citizen, I really don’t,” she described.
Webster House has been such a gift to Linda. She enjoys establishing lasting connections with both members and staff. “If I don’t get here, I cry. I love it here, I love it here. I feel wanted. I feel loved. I feel liked. There is so much love being lavished. I really love this place,” voiced Linda. She considers everyone her friend at Webster House and has taken a new interest with art. Art is her meditation and she enjoys teaching others what she was taught by former Clubhouse Counselor Laura Morgan, who recently moved onto a new role within Vinfen. Laura was truly a special person in Linda’s life, and she is excited to see what the future holds for her in her new role.
Linda also aspires to write a theology novel and is currently working on employment goals. She just starting working at a new job and is thankful for the employment support she received from Webster House. “They believe in me,” she explained. Linda also volunteers, is passionate about the rights of Veterans, and would love to teach a nutrition class at the Clubhouse. Linda loves to smile, laugh, and bring joy to others. “I am coming more into myself,” shared Linda. “I know I am going to need Webster House for the rest of my life.”
You can bring happiness to Linda this season and support her as she develops her community at Vinfen. You can be another reason Linda can smile and find joy in the world as she continues on her journey of recovery.
Your gift of $25, $50, $100, or more will place a gift directly in the hands of those here at Vinfen who do not have the family or personal means to make the holidays special. Help Linda and others by lifting their spirits this season.
Make a donation today. Make someone smile.