The only thing that Traci knew for sure was that she had to leave. There were no other options. She quickly packed up her belongings, got in her car, and drove away, leaving behind her home, her dogs, and her abusive relationship.
"I'm just broken. My life feels broken, but I know it will get back together again. I want it to. But I thought I was doing the right thing before by leaving an abusive situation. And that is when everything fell apart for me."
Traci was fortunate enough to be able to continue working and this gave her a sense of normalcy. Trying to survive on her own, though, was a major adjustment. Despite her best efforts, she soon realized her salary wasn't enough to cover her rent and Traci became homeless. She lived in her car, sleeping in the parking lot of a local department store.
"But I kept up with my job. I just got up and went to work every day. Went to bed when dark came. Got myself up and got myself ready at the hospital. I would go into one of the bathrooms, lock myself in and get myself dressed. I had all my belongings in the car; clothes, scrubs, hygiene stuff, and I would just get myself ready for work. I would just walk out of the hospital like a normal person."
Traci was determined and resourceful. She tried to make the best of the situation she found herself in. Each obstacle was a problem that could be solved. So, when paying for much needed car repairs left no money for food, she arrived on the steps of The Salvation Army.
"I came into The Salvation Army and they opened their doors to me. They told me they were here for me, if I needed food or if I needed clothing."
The Salvation Army was able to help her find a room to rent, and helped with food and clothing whenever they were needed.
"I just want to be normal and The Salvation Army helps you to be normal, to feel normal. The talks that they give you.The prayers that they give you when needed. All that really helped. I just thank God for The Salvation Army because where would I be without them? Where would I be?"
Tracy doesn't have a home to call her own yet. She continues to work hard, determined to save as much as possible. She regularly stops into The Salvation Army for prayer with her caseworker which inspires her to keep going.
"Now I know what it's like for people that are homeless, people that are without. We're people, loving people. We just need a little helping hand sometimes."