Mura Coldwell – Another Miracle

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Photo by Jessica Wong on Unsplash

Mura is resilient, tough, compassionate, generous, loving, and caring and has an engaging smile and a warm heart. How she has survived to remain this way is a miracle.

She is fifty-eight, a widow with two grown sons. She was born prematurely in Waterville, Maine to a wayward mother and severely alcoholic father. Her “present parent” was an attentive and loving grandmother who raised Mura until age nine when her biological mother took over. It was around that time that the intense physical and emotional abuse began by her mother and sexual abuse by an uncle.

Her resilience carried her through high school (Mount Abrum) and into UVM (University of Maine) as an Education and Social Sciences major, but she had to withdraw with just one semester left for an Associate’s Degree. However, according to Maine law, her education did allow her to be a foster mom for three years.
She married the love of her life in 2006 after leaving a long-term significant other who left her with two young boys. Mura moved to Eastham and then Falmouth to be near her husband’s two sons. Tragically, her husband died from prostate cancer in 2012. His loss broke her heart. At this point the bottom fell out, and her life began to seriously deteriorate. Without her husband’s carpentry income, Mura quickly became destitute.

Her saga intensified and a long journey of evictions and homelessness ensued. At one point Mura bought a huge three room tent for she and her younger boy and secured it in a friend’s backyard. For three months all their electricity came from an extension cord and their cooking from an outdoor grill. She was resourceful.

Her childhood traumas caused Mura to develop PTSD and have bouts of deep depression and anxiety. Additionally, she developed arthritis and fibromyalgia. This debilitating combination qualified her to receive monthly SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and food stamps. She was/is unable to hold down steady employment.
After the “tent home” incident, she was able to secure housing at the Cataumet Homeless Shelter for Families for a year. There she became a vital part of the welcoming committee, cooking extensive meals for all thirty residents and helping the newcomers feel immediately at home. Eventually she relocated to a shared apartment in Wareham after receiving subsistence from the Housing Assistance Corporation. During this period she cleaned apartments in her building to try to make ends meet. These arrangements lasted another year. Then another eviction.

At this juncture, Mura entered another difficult period in her life. She let her oldest son, now nineteen, leave to move alone to Falmouth and her youngest, fifteen, to go to live with a friend.

She developed a new relationship with a man and moved to Plymouth with him and both of her sons, who had now rejoined her. They were there for the next four years as her life settled. Then a good uncle developed a medical condition that required extensive caring and supervision. Mura left for Virginia for one year to be his caregiver while the boys stayed behind. She returned to Cape Cod without a place to live. Reunited with her sons, they moved into a Chevy Blazer; the boys slept in the front two bucket seats, and Mura reclined in the back. They ate fast food, somehow made fun of the situation, and laughed often. More resilience.

Eventually Mura had an interview with a social worker at the Housing Assistance Corporation who referred her to Homeless Not Hopeless. Joyfully, she was immediately accepted. Her maturity was readily apparent and she was soon promoted to House Manager, the “mother” to the other eleven female residents: “my girls” as she lovingly refers to them. Her rent is free. Can you imagine being in charge of eleven homeless women in one house? Mura has the temperament to be loving, persuasive, and peaceful yet firmly manage such a challenge.

For the past years, Mura has been safely settled with her boys grown and on their own. Now what are her dreams? She prays for a Federal Section 8 Housing voucher that would enable her to get a two-bedroom apartment where her sons and now grandson, age eight, could occasionally spend the weekend. She awaits patiently.
Mura wants to nurture her natural ability and interest to help those who are less fortunate, to give her arduous journey value by passing on her life’s wisdom. She is so grateful to have come so far and landed at HNH where she is safe, nurtured, appreciated, and valued. It has given her the confidence she needs.

Mura attributes her ability to survive to her lifelong Christian faith which first blossomed around age nine. She was awarded a Bible from Sunday school and withstood much abuse from her mother when Mura refused to destroy it. Godspeed to you Mura. You are strong and much loved.

(Photo by Jessica Wong on Unsplash)