Published Book or Work by:
Me, God, and Twelve Hours In Quito
|Using God's challenges in everyday life to crawl back to
"normal" after divorce from a sociopath.
"The New Fall"
After many months of ups and downs, ambilivent feelings, and at the very
least unmanaged turmoil, there it was, indifference. Indifference is a savior to those
fighting through love turned to hate.
It’s easy to tell myself hate is simply the pass through feeling to dislike; resulting
in destination, indifference. When the feeling of indifference occurs, your journey’s
end is very near.
It was December of 08, after the passing of my brother, the end of my marriage,
and my wonderful loving friend and mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I found
my body and mind regressed to the fetal position. Mornings could have very easily
been night and the days were long, cold and dark. Days turned to months and
months seem to have no end. Having no interest in seeing or speaking with anyone
my only interaction with others consisted of visits with my daughter, doctors, mother, and
my dog and companion, Conner. I cried everyday. When I saw my mother, I cried
and cried. The guilt I felt was absolutely, overwhelming. Her Alzheimer’s, seemed
to belong on my doorstep. I knew there was nothing I had done or could do to
prevent or cure this terrible disease. Yet, somehow, it felt so wrong to see her in
such a hopeless state. My mother in prior good years would make all of her family
promise never to put her in a nursing home. Yet there she was, the place she most
feared was now called home.
My vision of tomorrow more hopeless than faith filled, had feelings of disgust,
hard heartedness, holding little provisions for the coming years. It seemed our world
with every turn was filled with individuals who care only about themselves. Hate,
hate is a very strong painful word. During all my past life the word hate never had been
attached to anyone. Could it be I too had become hard and callous, rude and self-
centered, dishonest and a hate monger? My heart was broken and truly felt the
love of family, love of friends, love for people and my country, all of which,
make up my character and inner being, was now gone forever. My bed had become my
refuse with the covers not of cotton but were of fear, guilt, tears, lack of caring and
energy, a lot of pain and worry, and darkness. Darkness filled my room, even when the
sun was shining brightly. Today, I believe God placed Conner in my life as my
savior. Had I not had to walk him, feed him, and return his affection, no doubt I would
have easily just slipped away. Instead, walking my furry friend, brought those
days a little closer to night, helped me see through my tears and fears, turned the
darkness into dusk, and then daylight. The light helped me come to see warm smiles
from family and friends and a beginning again for the need to live.
Surviving in itself is a challenge you take one day at a time. Some days those
challenges come in mass, others offer a trial of a singular nature. You find your thoughts
accepting a single challenge as an easy day.
As my computer became my lifeline to the world, I began to write to fill a void,
the hole in my heart. During many movies, shows, and books, heartbreak has been
described and written about. As one whose heart has been heavy with pain in my past,
let me be the first to tell you, all those books, shows, and movies can not
begin to describe the real life pain and endurance it takes to move on with ones
life when your heart has been completely broken.
Somehow, you pray and pray for strength to walk, talk, eat, and on many days
even to bath. My survival plan kept me alone. I had to be alone to work through
my issues and the pain. Many times I wondered if I had simply lost my mind or if
really there was a need for trying to go on. Little by little change happens. So
slightly not to even notice. Until one day, I did not cry when I saw my mother.
But felt in my heart she somehow knew how much I loved and missed her; knowing
everyone had done what was best for her and her safety. In some small way, I told
myself, in her mind deep down she knew and understood this and loved me but
also, the wonderful loving friend and mother I had all my life was now gone. Her
body remains but her mind and spirit have moved on. I tell myself today, she and
others like her with this terrible disease are simply “walking dead.”
One day I awoke to a beautiful day and a sense of newness. My daughter, Michele,
and I go off together to do those mother, daughter things but somehow now, they are
more meaningful. It’s me, crawling back to reality and life again.
I, was offered to join a trip with a small group of scuba divers going to a small island
known as Bonaire. Emerging from my divorce, one good thing I received; a healthy
passion for scuba diving. Going under the water to depths many will never see
brings with it a calmness and beautiful serenity like no other.
I decided it would be good for me to go on this trip, and meet new people and see new
things in this world I had hoped and wanted to see before I died. So with vigor I eagerly
accepted the offer and made my travel plans. There was a sense of freedom just as if
chains had been removed. My mind seemed to open up and my heart receptive to
acceptance of new faith, hope, and joy.
I, am reminded of a very bright and clever man I once worked with.
Talking with me one day he made a wonderful statement. This statement, is carried
inside me always. Although in the past few years it might have been hidden, the
message was with me. He told me, “Never let anyone steal your Joy!” “There is
simply not one thing or person worth your joy.” How right he was!
Suddenly I had excitement in my broken heart. The scheduled time to leave
was approaching and with everyday I found myself thinking and feeling better and
As my past year, had been filled with challenge after challenge everyday, I took
extreme caution to secure my travel plans making sure they would go about without a
hitch. I called my airline carrier to check in and called airport officials regarding me
traveling alone and making sure I would be able at 4:00 am unload my luggage and
check-in curbside, then go park my car. They assured me no delay and no problems
would exist on my departure. All packed up, and ready to go I left and arrived at the
airport, gave my luggage to the skycap, and left and parked my car. As I walked back to
meet the skycap and obtain my boarding pass, I noticed through the glass all the
airplanes parked and waiting to take people to their many different destinations.
Reaching the area of the skycap he informed me we had to go inside to meet with a
ticket agent as the computer would not let him check me in. So off we went inside.
Once there, as you can imagine many people were in line however the skycap took me
up to the front of the line and no one would even make eye contact. He asked one agent
for help and she shook her head, “ No,” and others just whizzed by without comment.
He kept telling me how sorry he was and actually he was begging her to stop for a
moment and help him by giving him one simple answer to a question regarding the
Once she had taken care of all the other customers in line, she then made eye contact
with me, and said it was then too late for me to make my flight. As she checked to
see if other flights were coming up, all she said was No flights until next week.
No other airline has flights available until then either. As my flight was not due
to take off until 5:45 am and it was at that time 5:20 am, she did still have time and
could have if she wanted get me on board. Instead, she was rude, cold, disinterested,
and flatly could have cared less that not only was I missing my flight but she also
knew my vacation would be demolished. Was in all this anywhere an apology?
No. So the exercise in the prior hours was about to be reversed in action. I had to
walk through the entire airport, return to my car, pay for parking, then return and
pick-up my luggage and make the phone call to my friend who had a connecting
flight and was meeting me in Atlanta. Calling him I simply said, “This is no joke!”
“I am not on the plane!” With that, I drove back home got on the computer and looked
up the flights and secured one leaving that afternoon. The only one available and
boy would it be a long flight. Lets say 24 hours long. I would have a 12 hour
layover in Quito, Ecuador. My mind was made up, I would not be discouraged or
deterred from making my trip. So back to the airport I went, checked in on time
and went through security where I had to throw away several hundred dollars worth
of things due to this airline carrier not allowing me to check an additional bag,
as the original carrier would. Went through security, down to my gate and we began
boarding; so here I go.
The plane took off as scheduled and we were off to Panama. During the flight
my seat assignment was an outside isle. Sitting next to me was a older gentleman
and his wife. I could hear him speaking Spanish to her on occasion during the
flight. Me, I had earphones on with music playing, trying not to think too much
about the over night trip facing me ahead. The gentleman started talking to me and was
telling me he had lived in Panama for over 35 years and was a teacher. He had
taught school to the children of service men and women in the military based in Panama.
He continued and being such a gentleman spoke softly in Spanish to his wife and I can
only imagine he was telling her what we were discussing. As we approached Panama he
leaned in and began to explain to me I was on a very important flight. My flight during
the evening would take me right through the Equinox or as he called it “The New Fall.”
As I would be in the air traveling to Quito at the very time of the Equinox, it
would be a very exciting time for me. Continuing to explain, “The New Fall”
is also called the “New Beginning.” We landed and said our Good byes and
as we were standing waiting to get off the plane, he said to me, you’re newly
divorced. I said, Yes! Thinking I never mentioned anything about me or my
past or present during our conversation. He then said, “Sandie, you are beginning
a new life and not many people are blessed to be in the exact position you will be
in later tonight. It’s a good thing for you and your new start.” I said “Thank You,”
for the info and we went our separate ways. As I departed the jet way I saw a
ticket agent and stopped and asked her if she spoke English. She did, and I needed
directions to my next boarding area. She gave me directions and looked at my
papers and I was again off to another gate. Standing around waiting for my
next flight was interesting. No one seemed to speak English but me.
Shortly those at the gate for departing to Quito began to move about. You see
all announcements were in Spanish. So I could not understand anything they said.
People were crowded together like a herd of cows. Pushing and moving. I’m
thinking, where are we going? As we began to move, it was forward to a hallway
and stairs, no jet way. As I hauled my luggage down three flights of stairs, I was
praying the whole time, I did not fall. Ending up outside, I was being ushered onto an
awaiting bus. The bus was so crowded with not only people but a few animals as well and
I had absolutely no idea where, I was going and only prayed it was to the plane. I noted
to myself also hopefully it was the right one. I saw a young girl with two older disabled
women standing very close to me. The bus did not have seating but poles to hold onto as
Reaching our stop, the doors opened and people began to move rapidly out the doors. It
was also raining. Looking down I could see a huge step down off the bus. Thinking no
way could I make, then I looked and saw these little old women who I realized in no way
would be able to take such a large step down. I asked the young girl if she spoke any
English and all she did was shake her head “no.” Motioning to her to look down at the
huge step, we were able to communicate enough by sign language that she understood,
I would help her down with them after I managed to navigate the step myself. It was
as if no one even noticed her or the women or me. Just crowding onto the steps to
get up to the plane seemed to be everyone’s main driving force.
I helped both of the ladies down, the young girl was so appreciative that I had helped
them she just kept nodding her head and smiling. It was her way of saying “Thank You.”
As I reached the top of the stairs and the entrance to the plane, I looked at my ticket to
discover a surprise, the nice ticket agent placed me in the number one seat in First
Class. She had upgraded without my asking or her telling me. How wonderful.
Someone actually did something nice for someone else without being asked or paid to do
My flight out of Quito was very comfortable. The flight attendant gave me a hot towel
to wipe my hands and face and something to drink before we ever left the ground; served
dinner and felt very safe and at peace. Before, when I was in the airport, I was feeling
fear and very uncomfortable. It was during this flight the gentleman explained to me I
would experience the Equinox, where the sun is in perfect alignment with the equator.
Arriving in Quito it was late, passed 11:00 pm. Upon clearing customs, I was lost.
People, animals, pets, birds, pigs, goats were everywhere. The noise was so loud like
a parade. People had balloons and were clapping and yelling people names and crying;
I just knew someone very important was going to come through the opening where all
arriving exit customs. It was amazing. One by one, an individual would come through.
The yelling and welcoming would be family, friends, or both. These people, were
regular everyday people just coming home. Families had brought the favorite
family pet to welcome this person. Balloons waved high in the building. It lasted
all night. I felt a sense of peace but sadness. Sadness because, as Americans we have so
much yet, we are families of very unhappy and unfulfilled people.
Everyone I encountered during my long night sitting in the airport at Quito was
nothing less than friendly and helpful. One lady showed me where to sit and stay, and
even advised one of the police officers I was there and would be there all night. He
told her to tell me, I would be safe and he would watch after me all night.
Some time around 5:00 am, the noise was so loud and people everywhere in the small
area I was. They were all dressed up in their best clothes. Again, it was as if someone
extremely important was leaving. The importance was no doubt because this person was
part of their family. It was part of their culture to send off this person or welcome them
home in their best clothing and bring all of the family with them. That would also mean
the family goat, family pet, family chicken, because you see, these people consider them
to be family as much as themselves.
Around 5:30 am the ticket agents opened up for departing flights and I went into
the area and met a women who I explained my night was spent sitting in the airport
awaiting for my scheduled departure at 9:45 am the next morning. Taking me by the
hand, she lead me to an area where I could sleep, bath, eat, whatever until my
flight boarded. This airline employee was so gracious and nice, took such care of me,
it was unbelievable. My bags, were taken and stored. I was given hot towels and
shown where to shower. It was beautiful. Marble and Granite surrounded the
floors and counters. I couldn’t believe it. I had the best shower in my life.
After my shower, I began to re-dress. Even putting the same clothing on after that
shower just somehow made it all like new. As I placed my rings back on my fingers, I
noticed something I had not noticed before. Inside one of my rings was a tiny inscription
which read; “Dear God Please Grant Me The Serenity To Go On.” I had not noticed
this when I purchased the ring. I purchased it because it had little blue butterflies
on a simple platinum ring. The butterfly is a symbol of resurrection and I believe my
brother gives me signs and feelings through the beauty of butterflies.
As I had had nothing to drink or eat since my flight from Panama, as I exit the shower
area, I was met with fresh squeezed orange juice. I could not believe it, but I swear this
was the best orange juice of my life. Coffee, food, tv, magazines, and a bedroom,
all were offered. As I sat down to drink my juice, I looked up and could not believe
the sight I witnessed. Majestic mountains, beautiful trees and the sky, cloudless, as if
it were pure and clean. A sight so beautiful, I could not recall seeing anything quite
so marvelous and wonderful. I sat very peaceful and had no thoughts except
what beauty and charm and just “niceness,” this unscheduled event of my life had
turned out to be. The airline employees came in several times just to check on me.
Let me know my luggage was found and safe and questioned if I needed anything.
The time came when they summoned me for my departing flight to Bonaire.
Words could not express my gratitude and appreciation for these wonderful people.
Leaving the jet way all I could say was “Thank You So Much.” As I entered the plane
I felt an overwhelming smile on my face. Funny, but I think I might have found my
smile, in Quito. My flight into Bonaire was tremendous. Huge plane and such nice
flight attendants. Made all the, mix up in Houston seem to disappear.
I was about to meet a distant friend in Bonaire. All felt right with and in the
world for me for the first time in what seemed years. Excitement actually garnished
my soul. Gosh, could it be that when I crossed the Equinox my spirit and soul
was renewed? I felt renewed. Peace and Happiness along with a hefty dose of
gratefulness just to witness such close and loving families. This beauty I saw in
others, had I simply missed it because I was so busy being unhappy in my life,
that I felt it disappeared in our world? These people did not seem to care about
how much money or what material thing they did not possess. They did however,
exude love, caring, and joy. Could it be I found my Faith in Quito? My Faith,
lost for such a long time only to suddenly appear as if it were, “magic.”
I arrived in Bonaire to my awaiting friend. It was as if we had known one another
forever. The comfort both of us felt was unexplainable. Thinking of going
to Bonaire brought about fear for me. As my ex was a sociopath and bully, I
truly did not know what to expect from myself with others. Trying to survive in
a cocoon for months can make one lose confidence in oneself, especially when it
comes to the opposite sex. I clearly had avoided all men for a reason. The reason,
trust or lack there of. Could it be I was placing myself in harms way again?
It would be up to me clearly to make the decision if this person was a friend or foe.
On my long night in Quito it gave me a lot of time to observe others and reflect on
my own past. I was able to see a path in front of me filled with “joy,” and
“laughter.” My smiling face as this person approached said it all. God had blessed
me in my up coming future to be normal again. Normal people trust and have unbending
faith. You cannot go through your life, or what is left of your life, always looking for
the “bad,” in someone. It was in Quito, I witnessed that most people given the chance,
will be good and not bad. Most people live life as loving, caring, and honest individuals
also, teaching their children to be the same. If I indeed was given “A New Beginning,”
one cannot begin a “New Fall” with old feelings and doubts. Instead, I choose to give
people a break.. Realize those who have the most, usually, inside have the least; and
those who appear to have the least, undoubtedly have the most; give the most, show the
most and in the end know the most.
On my twelve hours in Quito, God showed me goodness, mercy, and the way to
real peace and recovery. On my trip to Bonaire, God gave me a true friend, replacing
one lost. He managed to continue mending a broken heart and gave me
one of the best gifts of all, renewed my sense of trust and belief in others. Now,
we are never sure why bad things happen to good people, nor do we know how
all those trials and challenges which come before us in our lives, make us grow.
Why is that the challenge, we may ask? My case, why indeed did this carefully
planned and anticipated trip land me right in the middle of foreign territory? Had
my scheduled plans gone as they were, I would have missed the adventure and
witness of what can only be described as real unconditional love. I would have
missed the beauty of such a God driven sight of those majestic mountains. And of
course I would have missed the “new fall,” or what the gentleman explained to me,
as “my new beginning.” Had he planted a seed in my head or had some mystical
happening occurred while traveling through that Equinox. I know my life has taken
drastic turns and my attitude toward others and my own dear life has changed.
Did I change because what I saw and experienced or was it a form of “magic?”
The ending to a successful new part of my life would not be complete without
the ability to extend a hand in faith and trust in another person. As I had been taken
for a long and ugly ride by a Sociopath, it was unclear how I would be when
confronted with the prospect of actual closeness and even contact of another.
Would I freak out? Would I be able to release myself with others even just as a friend?
Would my feelings move past such evil and ugly thoughts and fears to be normal
as the opportunity presented itself. I hoped I would. Because, if I turned inward
forever never able to trust or give myself again to another, the Sociopath would
So without hast or hesitation, when this big goofy guy approached me it was
instant and natural to turn and fall into his arms and embrace him during that moment.
That moment, described only as my re-birth. It was natural and human to feel and
want connection with another person. The sun was beautiful and the day was as if a
light switch had been flipped and it was brand new. Not a cloud in the sky, warm
breeze, a smile and a hug and my “New Fall” had begun.
My week in Bonaire gained me much. A connection with a friend that I hoped would
continue growing, a connection with a country which lead me to write a new children’s
book along with a new and old sense of being, both joined. I say I found my smile
in Quito but I think I might have found myself there also.
I thank my friend for showing me “normal.” Until Quito and Bonaire, it was a long
time between abnormal and normal. Thank you my friend for helping make my
transition from prison to freedom, it can only be described as effortless. Thank you for
reminding me that there are good people out there. I found beauty when I was not
looking for it and friendship when I least expected it. My “New Beginning,” is one
which holds excitement, smiles, laughter, hope, faith, and love. It’s amazing what we
find when we aren’t looking; I was blessed to find My Life.
This newfound friend was actually not new at all. Our friendship began in a small
boat off the coast of St. Martin. You see, God knows when he places people into our
path, when they will have purpose. Our paths crossed by coincidence. Maybe?
We have become real friends. Friends, that do not judge each other, do not compete with
one another, hurt one another, are not faultfinding, but simply have acceptance of one
another. Our friendship bloomed exactly where God had planted us.
So if you find you too might have lost your smile, you may want to look up the next
Equinox, book a trip to somewhere and make sure your in Quito, Ecuador, that’s
where I found mine along with a great big dose of humanity and reality.
, Social Sciences
, Women's Issues/Studies
||You must be logged in to add a comment