A Life Strung Together, Bead by Bead

Posted on December 5, 2011


Her name is Debra Monaco and she is 38 years old.  Until June 18 of this year, her life was full.  She had an eleven year old daughter. She had a fiance who she loved. They lived in his recently deceased father’s house in Alexandria, VA.  She worked at Rite Aid and was about a week away from being made manager.  She had been in an abusive marriage, but that was in the past.  She never asked for more than what life gave to her, and until June 18, it gave her as much as she had ever hoped for.

On June 18, she and her fiancé drove to a car dealership not far from their home.  Her fiancé was considering selling his car and getting another.  He crossed the street first. Debra crossed the street a bit later.  It was 1:30PM on a clear afternoon.  A man driving a small truck came down the street but didn’t stop.  He said he didn’t see her.  She was thrown into the air, and when she landed, her life as she knew it was over.

She remembers everything, although she wishes she didn’t.  She lay on the ground thinking that she would die, and she was terrified.  The pain was excruciating. Two policemen had been parked across the street.  They had seen the impact, and they responded. 

She had broken her heel.  Her arch had collapsed.  Her tibula was shattered.  All of the cartilage in both knees had separated.  The nerves in one hand were severed.  Across her body were massive bruising and contusions.  The pain continued to be horrific for a long time.

Because she could no longer work, she lost her job.  Because her income was so critical to the household, her fiancé could no longer make the payments on his plumber’s assistant wages, and they lost the house. Because she was incapable of taking care of her daughter, her daughter went to North Carolina to live with Debra’s mother.

She and her fiancé are now living in a motel.  She has a lawyer who tells her she will get a lot of money when this is all settled.  But she has no money now.  She has no money for therapy, no money for medical equipment, no money for needed surgery. 

 She also doesn’t have any self-pity.  So, after she was able, she bought some beads and  taught herself to make jewelry.  She ordered free business cards, and she made a website. She goes to craft shows on weekends and hopes to make a couple hundred dollars at each one.  But she is happy with less.

She is beautiful, in spite of having lost 25 lbs since the accident.  She cannot walk very well, and she cannot walk at all without a special kind of sneaker and heavy, padded socks.  She smiles wistfully when she sees women with high heels, because the doctors say she will never wear shoes with heels again.

She thinks about Christmas.  She knows she can’t have what she really wants, which is to see her daughter.  So she thinks about what it would be like to celebrate in the motel room with her fiancé.  She would like a tree, a very small one.  She would like to be able to make some kind of holiday dinner in the microwave and on the hot plate.  But she knows that all of that must be second to making the payment on the room.  She lives life in $60 increments.  The cost of one night at the motel.

Her name is Debra Monaco.  Her website is www.JewelrybyDebra.com.  Her email address is debramonaco35@yahoo.com.  If you still need to buy a gift for anyone, please consider Debra’s jewelry.  If you don’t need to buy anything, take a look anyway.  See how beautiful courage can look.