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My Turn: In a hard season, an unexpected gift

As a 51-year-old single father of a teenage girl, times have gotten pretty tough for me recently. A couple years ago I became very ill. I was lying at death’s door and didn’t even know it. It was my daughter who stepped in and said, “I don’t care what you say, Dad, I’m gonna dial 911.”

Turns out, I had a torn intestinal wall and blood clots in numerous places. It completely shook my state of mind. I tend to break down and weep, sometimes at the drop of a hat or a silly song that comes on the radio, but mostly when the conversation is about me. I’m sure the emotions are not really about me but more like what it would do to my daughter if I were to die. I am in the process of getting help in hopes of seeing a brighter day. But for now, times have been difficult for both of us. Being reduced to $178.50 every two weeks from the state doesn’t help a man’s pride either.

So this holiday season, I was even more worried about how to come up with a little something to let my daughter know that she means the world to me.

My daughter has been in the Friends Program for about seven or eight years now. Back when I signed her up for it, my concerns were that she didn’t have any female figures in her life to do the girlie things. She’s had the same senior friend for all that time, and one couldn’t ask for anyone better.

Amid my worry this year, I got a call from the program and was asked if it was okay for my daughter to get Christmas gifts and if I would like a food basket for the holidays. I humbly accepted the offer and the caller went on to ask about my daughter’s sizes for clothing and so on.

After I hung up, I broke down in tears – but this time I’m not sure it had to do with depression. I think it was because a bit of weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

When I went to pick up the gifts, I was completely amazed by how many there were for her. I don’t thing Santa could have done any better.

A couple of days later they brought us a couple of boxes filled with everything needed to prepare a beautiful Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. My baby girls knows that her daddy is not doing well right now, but she also know he is doing whatever it takes to get better and with great people like those at the Friends Program, it’s a great reason to smile – which could be a small step toward recovery.

The Friends Program is a godsend, and I couldn’t thank them enough.

(JR Curtis lives in Concord.)

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