Mary is only 22 years old, but already has a lifetime of sorrow. You wouldn’t know that from her sunny smile and mischievous eyes though.
Mary was born in Anchorage but lived most of her life in Michigan. She moved away from Michigan in July two years ago to leave a bad lifestyle and a worse relationship. She arrived in Fairbanks pregnant and with her 2-year old son, Kaden. She came to the Rescue Mission that September with Kaden and by then her baby daughter, Layla.
Layla was a beautiful baby who all the women doted on. As Mary related her story to me her eyes shone with tears. “I can still remember so clear that moment when I brought her out of her winter bundling and one of the women said, ‘She’s white! She’s white!’” I remember that day too, how Jeff tried to resuscitate her, our frantic waiting for the ambulance, the prayers, and Mary’s wails - a terrible accident that left Mary floundering.
She buried her baby in Nuiqsut and went back and forth between Fairbanks and there, everything very unstable for her for the next two years. A week ago that instability brought her bruised and exhausted to our door again. What came to her mind in that moment of need was Becky, the women’s shelter manager. Becky had arranged a lovely memorial service at the Mission for Layla and had told Mary if she ever needed help to call her. Mary wants to get her life back on track and she said the stability here, the getting up at the same time, having chores, and being safe had helped her do that before and she wants to try again. She wants to get a job, find housing, get her son back from her relatives, and continue to work on building a positive relationship with her new boyfriend.