When Rosalind was in 5th grade, her dad committed suicide. After that, her mother, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, became increasingly physically and verbally abusive. Rosalind took the brunt of it.
Despite the increasing violence at home, Rosalind was a great student. She finished high school and went on to Morgan State College, where she made the Dean’s List and graduated magna cum laude. Between her studies, she married her first husband.
“After college, I continued on to get my MBA. I was hired for a good job working with the D.C. government. I bought my own condo. Things were good – and my husband and I had two kids.”
After her first pregnancy, Rosalind began having health issues. For years, doctors told her it was sinus problems compounded with the stress of caring for her son, who had been born with a sensory dysfunction.
Then, one afternoon in 1994, Rosalind heard a small pop.
She woke up in a hospital three weeks later. Doctors told her she had had a brain aneurysm, followed by major surgery and a medically-induced coma.
“I had to relearn how to do everything – how to walk, talk, and feed myself. My husband couldn’t handle it. He divorced me and took custody of our kids, saying I couldn’t take care of them.”
On her own, Rosalind took odd jobs, relying on her experience as an accountant. But it wasn’t enough, and even though she was able to stay in a relative’s old house, she often went without gas and hot water.
“I got married again, hoping that if I had a stable place to live, I could see my kids.”
But the hope was short lived. Her husband started seeing other women and with the increasing stress, Rosalind’s epilepsy – which she’d developed after the aneurysm – got worse. When he brought his “girlfriend” to live in their house, it was the final straw.
Through a local program, Rosalind got connected to N Street Village’s Permanent Supportive Housing program where she now has her own apartment. Thanks to support from the Village’s Judith Morris Wellness Center, Rosalind’s health is stable and she is seizure-free!
“N Street Village helped me get me back. Now, I have the freedom to be myself. I’ve spent my life being a mother, sister, and wife. People had called me damaged, sick, and waste. It took me 58 years to find out I like me. I’m nice and I’m fun!”