An Abuse Survivor's Tribute To Reba McEntire

I have been a Reba McEntire fan for as long as I can remember
I created this page to explain to you why Reba means so much to me
And what Reba has done for me.
I put off this part of my web page for a long time,
until I had a dream one night and figured it was time.
I doubted that Reba would ever read this
yet somewhere inside hope that she will.
I have tried to make others aware of my page
with the hope someone would make her aware
of the site so Reba could read all I have written,
Time will tell if Reba ever sees this Page.

To begin to tell you what Reba means to me and how she has affected my life,
I have to start with telling you about me...

My name is Sandi,
I am the Host of an MPD system of an unknown number of alters.
I am an adult abuse survivor of abuse,
which is why I have devoted my page to the survivors of abuse
and to those who have not yet found their way out.
I found my way out of the abuse in my past on December 7th of 1993.
Now I am going through my day to day struggles of dealing with everyday life.
Some days are harder than others and sometimes I don't even notice a day go by.
I wrote a poem, My first attempt at making sense of the Child abuse that I was suffering,
It had alot to do with Reba because in my mind she was my solace, My lighthouse, The light
in my dark world of trauma and pain. Here is the Poem in its original form....

Walking Through A Memory... Searching For a Light

Following orders made, fear builds
A tear is seen in her eye
It won't fall,
It's hidden so she won't get a "reason to cry"
So many things that she must do
Or hear him yell as he does it himself,
Encounters with this booze filled man
Teach that all feelings must be hid on a shelf.
Late night visits by him
Where the Child innocently sleeps,
He plays his game - than leaves her there
Where the child quietly weeps.
The pain is not told and cannot be seen on her face,
Not even the worst pain,
Which comes from words Saying she is a disgrace.

These things,
I hold here inside of my memory
My smile is a mask...
I am a lost child
Her and She is really ME!

Time has brought with it
An escape on even the hardest day,
An Oklahoma redhead and the Lord
Give me a hand along the way.
I get lost in Reba's inspiration
And words about a good Mom and Dad,
And Knowing "Somebody Up There Likes Me"
Helps when I am sad.
It also helps to know
that the "somebody" watches over all,
And to reach God's everlasting Love and Power
All I have to do is call.
I find myself listening to songs about
How to "walk On" and be strong,
Messages "For My Broken Heart"
With "Just A Little Love" In Each Song.
Through Reba's faith I can see
"I'll Have A Better Day Tomorrow",
Can chase my "Nickel Dreams"
And won't always feel sorrow.
I don't feel so alone as Reba sings about "the Stairs"
But meeting Reba is learning someone really cares.
It's shown at the meetings end
With her saying to me "I love you too"
So with the Lord beside me and Reba on the radio
I can deal with whatever life takes me through
10-14-93

When I first became aware of who Reba was,
it wasn't a song that introduced us, it was her winning her first award,
(Country Music Association- Female Vocalist of the Year 1984)
When she accepted it Reba began to cry and it touched my heart.
I realized "Hey, this woman is human" and
I saw a genuine caring toward her fans in her eyes.
Wanting to find out more about her I began buying her albums,
Time passed and her music became my escape...
No matter what my abusers did to me
I always had the constance of Rebas words and her music,
My favorite albums had become "Behind The Scene" and "Unlimited"
I could find a way to hide my pain
by crying tears over a song that Reba sang
or singing an attitude song to somehow make me feel
like I was strong enough to face another day

In Moving from Foster home to foster home from 1983 until 1990,
I lost most of the albums I had collected,
But I knew someday I would rebuild the collection.
At the end of March 1991 I was trying to win tickets to the upcoming Reba Concert,
It would be the first concert of Rebas I had ever been to,
days prior to the concert, A DJ friend of mine and I were talking on the phone,
The news came in there had been a plane crash, Reba was alright but her band had perished.
My heart sank and I wished there was something that I could do to help her for as much as she had helped me. But all I could do was send in a $40 donation to the Band relief fund,
And to pray for Reba and those that were so affected by this tragedy.
In June of 1991 I moved from Chicago to North Hollywood California,
It was at the time of this move that i would come closer to a dream of meeting Reba.
I moved in with my mother and stepfather, trapped again in the web of
"Honor Thy Mother And Thy Father"
I met a couple of huge Reba fans after coming to California,
They shared their Reba collections with me only making me love her more.
My goals had become to go to a Reba Concert
and to someday meet her and tell her all that she has done for me.
I taped every tidbit on TV that had Reba on it, Bought her tapes and Cds' and Videos,

and began collecting magazine clippings that I had lost along the way.
I was lost in Reba's music, in my mind and the mind of my alters
Reba was the mommie we never had,
A lighthouse in the new storm that I had found myself in.
My stepfather was drunk most all of the time and nothing I did was ever right,
There was no way of feeling anything that it was "o.k." to feel,
because the correct feelings were whatever others felt were correct for that day.
In November of 1991, The movie The Gambler IV came out
of course I was glued to the television set for the full 4 hour Mini-series.
Of course my favorite parts of the movie was when
she saw her daughter and told her she loved her,
and at the End when Kenny and her were talking about her mother in the movie.
Of course there was my favorite line from the movie :)
People could here my friend and I say it almost daily at work for the longest time,
She would ask me for something or I her and out it would come...
"I wouldn't give you the sweat off my horses butt!"

It just so happened on Wednesday February 12th and Thursday Feb. 13th
Reba was taping Hot Country Nights,
I only had a standby ticket for the 12th and I didn't get in,
After 6 hours of waiting they cut the line short 3 people in front of us.
Lilsandi (my little alter) who is around 6 cried,
I think she wanted to see Reba more than anyone.
February 13th we got in!!! I bought Reba a silk rose in a teddy bear vase,
and wrote her a poem in a card. Somehow I thought the card and gift
would be my way of introducing myself.
The poem in the card was....

You Are A Star Shining Love In My Heart

However a fans love and devotion shines through
I hope it's shown from me to you
As days pass good and bad, your songs and smile touch my heart
Having all the "fan" things, make me in your life seem a part
As you travel, touring mile after mile
If you look down and see me just send down a smile
Knowing I send you hugs and lots of love
And for you I thank the Lord above
I wish you his blessings
wherever you may go
But as I close
You must know

I Love You To Pieces
1-9-92

When Reba came out for the opening segment and took the rose from me,
somehow it was unreal, maybe one of the alters were there,
or maybe it was so much like a dream that it just did not seem real.
After the show a couple of people approached the stage for autographs,
I was not sure whether to go up or not but I wanted a hug so I set down my
jacket and said I am going to go hug Reba I will be right back.
I waited for the lady in front of us to get her autograph then I heard lilsandi say,
"If I go right there could I get a hug?" She was pointing at the stage next to Reba.
Reba replied saying I can give you one right there hon"
and she leaned down and hugged us.
I said "I love you Reba" and Reba said "I love you too hon"
Then in a moment as I walked away she left the stage
and it was over yet that moment had so much more meaning
than anyone could have understood,
then or maybe even now.
As we walked outside I said to my mom and my friend that was there with me
"Hey Reba said she loved me!!"
All of them in unison basically said that Reba would say it to anyone
that had said I love you to her and that it meant nothing,
But to me it did, my lighthouse from a young age had been kind to me
and my system and I were at peace...finally knowing that we were able to be loved,
even if only because we chose not to listen to the words of others trying to break our dreams.
Home life got harder and harder after that.
Home was more violent, more angry and I was lost in my music
and my television shows and specials with Reba on them.
My solitude only angered the stepfather and
I felt as if my whole world would end.
After things got to be too much for me to handle
a friend of mine helped me to move into a homeless shelter in April of '92.
While at the homeless shelter my depression got worse and worse
until I was placed into a hospital.
After being released from the hospital
I had to return home to my mother and stepfathers house,
The friend that had helped me get out before had moved to Texas and I was on my own
again except for Reba, her music, videos, and TV shows that I watched.
While back at home I saw an interview
with a lady named Susie Luchsinger on TNN and somewhere in it
I heard Susie say she was an abuse survivor and something about Reba
I wrote her a letter asking her about Reba
and about telling her I was also a survivor
I think, by the time I sent the letter
I had found out they were sisters I don't honestly remember.
it did not really matter to me none I just loved her song "So It Goes"
and thought that it was very cool that
Susie had come out and said she was a survivor.
After my first letter Susie wrote me back and we continued corresponding alot,
even after I returned to the hospital in September of 1992.
This hospital trip lasted a long time, I was placed in 4 or 5 different places,
and was finally released in June of 1993. (I had a very hard time with my depression and self injury and it was before my MPD diagnosis so I was struggling with the symptoms of loosing time and not always being sure of things that had happened in the time that I had lost.)

Jumping ahead a bit, Let me tell you a bit more about Susie Luchsinger,
Susie sings Country Christian Music,
She has been a good friend to me.
During some of the hardest times in the past few years
I have been able to corresponding with her via phone or letters,
and she has totally been there for me,
as much as she could be being a singer in her own right.

I hope that in all of my correspondence with Susie,
I have not made her feel that
my love for her as a person is based on who Susie is related to.
So many times you find people
who only want to know you for who you can get them close to.
Don't get me wrong,
I have written talk shows to ask for a chance to meet Reba,
but I try to keep my attention toward Susie strictly and sincerely for her and her own talent.

I met Susie at Fan Fair 1995,
I went 4 weeks after having surgery and should not have been there,
Susie knew about the surgery and the first thing she said to me when she saw me was,
"What are you doing here?"
"Did you eat yet?"
She was SO cool, She even told the friend I was at fan fair with to take good care of me.
I was great meeting her!
Even though I do not keep in touch with her like I used to,
I still think of her often and write when I can.
If you would like to know more about Susie Luchsinger and her music you should check out her web site http://www.susieluchsinger.com
Back to 1992 - 93
During my time in the hospital someone bought me copies of "It's Your Call"
"For My Broken Heart" and "Sweet 16", I was again lost in my music.
Somehow though you may not understand it
I was safe and felt loved because of her music.
Somewhere in her music I found a will to live,
Maybe it would become weak
but the nurses all knew if they needed to get me to do something
all they had to do was take away my tapes or threaten to and I would listen.
I was living for Reba and Susie, and being that I am alive today
I guess that was enough.

I had to go back home in June of 1993,
My stepfather was released from jail for abusing my mother
a short time after my return. Things were rocky with his return
but I had started hanging out with a band and
singing to karaoke tapes during band breaks,
so life was again lost in the songs I sang and
the dreams of finding a place for myself in this world.
In October of 1993 I was invited to a taping of the Vicki Lawrence Show
Where Reba was the only guest. There I was with my homemade Reba earrings,
and watch, all decked out like a huge fan.
My mom and a couple of other friends went with us and we got stuck in the back.
I thought "Oh well, At least I get to see her"
Then a guy who worked for the show was looking for someone
to move down to the first row where Reba would be right there!
I don't remember how I got the chair but I did!!!
I had brought Reba a picture I drew of her with another poem I had written her...

And The Award Goes To...

The industry giving awards has again passed you by
Though you are the best sadness is seen in your eye
But the biggest award is one you will always own
It is unchanging and as time passes you can see how it's grown
The love in my heart is your award, one not held in a bookcase
It is read in letters, seen in gifts and shown on my face.

When a single teat falls from your eye
The love I feel makes me also cry.
When hurt and pain is felt by you
That sadness is felt in my heart too
The times you laugh from deep in your heart,
My spirit rises, laughter fills me & in your joy I am a part.
Whether you grieve or celebrate I am feeling it too
All because I Love You.

9-29-93 (Given To Reba 10-12-93)

When the show was almost over I asked Reba
if I could have a hug when she was done taping,
She said "If I have time hon"
When the show ended people surrounded her, it was wild...
I waited until I had a moment and then handed her the gift, hugging her
"I said I love you Reba" and again she said "I love you too"
I felt like life was ok again, it was great to see her again,
I only wished I could have told her all that I am saying now.
By December of 1993 I was deep in depression again.
My stepfather and I had a big blow out fight and he left
saying that wither I was headed back to the hospital or he was leaving
because he was not living with me anymore.
Through love or fear my mother chose him and I called a friend for help,
they opened up their home to me and I left My home behind that day.
With my quick departure I had to leave alot behind and hope to get it back later,
There are many things I did not get back. :(

Living in this new place things were calmer,
I still fought my depression and Self-Injury but it was better.
I think that my depression and self injury issues are daily struggles I still deal with.

In November of 1994
My friend Joanne (who wins anything radio stations give away)
got tickets to an evening with Reba at the
Country Star restaurant in Universal City, California.
We were previewing her Thanksgiving special,
later released on video as "Reba Live"
Reba was 2 tables away from us for dinner and the viewing, It was great.
I took her a Photo Christmas ornament and a music box
that was a mailbox with a bird in it.
Before the viewing she was mingling in the audience,
signing autographs and taking pictures.
I asked someone to take a picture of her and I,
after she took it the lady said that the camera didn't click,
I was devastated and turned to Reba and asked her for another chance at a photo.
She said something about oh trying to get 2 or something and I think I froze
because she side hugged me and said "I'm just kidding ya"
Well both pictures came out,
you can tell in the 2nd one I was nervous or scared.
Could you imagine,
the person you admire most and look up to like a mom being upset at you?
Or even you thinking she was upset with you??

On July 8th 1995 at 8:15pm
Reba was in Concert at The Universal Amphitheater
My friend Joanne got Row BBB seat 12 (center pit)
Little did we know that they would cut out row AAA in the pit
and we would have front row seats!!
It was my first Reba concert and I was so excited.
I don't think I could move the whole time she was on stage.
She sang "Till You Love Me" and when it was over,
I yelled "I Love You Reba"
She just looked at me and winked, I was on cloud 25 somewhere.
I went to the backstage meet
but there was not a chance to tell Reba what I wanted
because it was like a question answer thing.
But it was nice to spend time just being around Reba
and her son Shelby who joined her backstage.

There are those that would say looking at my vast Reba collectibles,
pictures, cd's, tapes and LP's that I am an obsessed fan,
That is part of the reason that I made this page,
To explain why Reba means so much to us.
When a child has no mother,
As in the case for many abuse survivors cased aside in abuse,
there is a longing for a mommie
and I believe that to lilsandi, myself and other alters in my system
Reba was a mommie for us.
Don't get me wrong,
I have Reba's autograph, but she is more than a star,
She is human with a human side that shows clearly,
Yet like a star she is somewhat unreachable,
So from a distance,
I will gaze on the star I admire.
 

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