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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.

Thirteen

Thirteen

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“I got really disappointed in God. I thought, ‘Too hard, can’t do it’. And, ah, started running.

I went back into my old life; sold my house to buy drugs. And I resigned. The doctor medically retired me because I had cancer.

He could see that I wasn’t right. He wanted to put me on antidepressants but I told him that was stupid because there was nothing wrong with me. I didn’t understand it. I do now but back then I didn’t.

I hung around Cessnock but I lived on the streets. This is only, like, 15 years ago. I was sleeping on the Salvation Army step. Sleeping under the drains; often the one over near Woolies. Sometimes now when I go and do my shopping, I look at those drains and I can’t believe that that person is me.

The police found me and I had marijuana in my suitcase. It was my own supply but it was an amount that was called a ‘dealers amount’. My doctor and my mother wouldn’t give me bail because they knew if I got bail I would have cleared out. So, I was in there for 2 months. I went to Emu Plains. And then, when I came out, I went to rehab.

My granddaughter was born while I was in jail. My father died while I was in rehab. It was quite a mess. And I think I’d had enough … of running.

I went into my cell one night and a voice spoke to me and said, “Sharan, even in the belly of the whale, I was there.”

And I just thought, I’m just never going to get away from God. It doesn’t matter what I do, he’s just going to be there.

It takes a long time to forgive yourself when you’ve done something like that. Like what I did and the people that I did it to … I didn’t think they’d ever forgive me.

But they did.

My grandkids are everything. I just can’t put it into words. It’s not so much my relationship with them that tears me up, it’s their relationship with me. And how much they love me. You know?” 

Fourteen

Fourteen

Twelve

Twelve