There are no guarantees that life will be easy. Undoubtedly, in life people are faced with struggles that hopefully make us all stronger. Pathway graduate Cathy Weaver is a strong person. Cathy has lived a very interesting life full of challenges and personal setbacks yet she remains resilient and extremely upbeat.
At breakfast, Cathy retells stories about her childhood. Throughout all these stories, there seems to be one consistent theme: she had an idyllic childhood. She attended school in Omaha and on the weekends, her parents took her and her siblings to the country for more family time. She remembers swimming in the lake, playing outdoor games, and just running around outside. Unfortunately, all this changed in a single moment. Cathy’s older brother was killed when his truck smashed him against the tree. The manner in which he died only added to the heartache as her brother was working on the truck with his dog watching in the front seat. The dog inadvertently disengaged the parking brake allowing the truck to sandwich Mike against the tree.
The family was all heartbroken over the loss and responded to the tragedy in different ways. Cathy’s parents’ once strong marriage was now combative and argumentative. Cathy’s dad began to find solace in alcohol and became distant. Even so, he was also overly protective and did not want to lose any other person from his family. Thus, he removed his children from school so they could attend a very small, conservative Christian school where he could more closely monitor all their activities. In both middle school and high school, Cathy tried to re-enroll in public school but became overwhelmed and no longer felt like she belong. Cathy eventually dropped out of high school.
With nothing to do and few people in her life including an overbearing father, Cathy’s bond with her mom only grew stronger. Cathy did everything with her mom. She became a balloon artist and was featured in the Bellevue Leader for her talents.
Despite this close-knit relationship with her mother, Cathy still felt like she was missing something. Cathy eventually began a relationship with a young man and shortly thereafter was pregnant. Wanting to be accepted by his family, Cathy and her boyfriend decided to get married. While raising a son gave Cathy a sense of purpose and made her happy, she still felt restless. Her marriage suffered as a result and Cathy and her husband eventually decided to separate.
During this separation from her husband, Cathy found her new family: the 18th Street Gang. Gang life was excited and more importantly from Cathy gave her a sense of belonging. Wanting to make her new family happy, Cathy willingly agreed to begin trafficking drugs. Not surprisingly, Cathy was eventually caught by police and sent to prison. During this time, Cathy decided that she needed to do more with her life. As such, she earned two separate certifications as a nurse’s aid and an emergency medical technician. Upon her release, Cathy was able to find work relatively easy.
While Cathy loved the work she was doing, her home life remained uneasy. After several years, Cathy and her husband finally decided to divorce for good. After the divorce Cathy struggled financially. Scared about not being able to provide for her now three children, Cathy admittedly made a big mistake. With assistance from her former brother-in-law, she was able to gain access to her ex-husband’s bank account and removed a few thousand dollars. Cathy was eventually caught and sentenced to 12 years and 20 years in prison.
Today Cathy is a different person. Cathy openly talks about the mistakes that she has made and how she does not want to be defined by these actions. When talking Cathy, it is impossible to not like her. She is shockingly candid and has a calming presence. She mentions how she hopes others learn from her mistakes. Cathy mentions at breakfast that she only wants “to live a good life by helping and caring for others.” Cathy’s words are not empty. In fact, Cathy reminds me towards the end of breakfast that she needs to get back to the Center. Despite needing a job herself, Cathy is currently assisting other clients’ find work. Cathy may have made mistakes in her life and her life may not have been easy. Nonetheless, Cathy is a kind, caring human being that I am proud to know.