When you listen to LaTonya Porter tell her story, you pause at every sentence and wonder how it could possibly get worse. And it does. Step-by-step, life changing circumstances pile upon one another, each situation heavy enough to bring most people to the brink of collapse.
But it happened. It all happened to LaTonya in a matter of a couple years. She not only survived to tell about it, but she has worked through the most painful healing to be a strong woman, loving mother and published author. CPC is proud to not only have the privilege to educate LaTonya’s two daughters in its Head Start and WIC programs, but have her as an instrumental part of the organization’s Head Start Policy Council.
Of the string of unfortunate circumstances that became the centerpiece of LaTonya’s story, the death of her long-time boyfriend and father of her twin daughters was by far the most tragic. He died of natural causes, but in the most sudden and unexpected way.
Leading up to that tragic moment, the couple struggled with employment setbacks and a complicated pregnancy with their twin daughters as they looked to build their life together in Baltimore. Through each hardship, LaTonya pressed through telling herself, “don’t panic yet.”
But on April 27, 2017, her boyfriend woke up in the early hours of the morning to tend to one of their daughters, and minutes later LaTonya discovered him at the bottom of the staircase. He died of a genetic heart disorder. Holding back the panic was no longer possible.
In the weeks that followed, LaTonya recalls that she was “mentally in shambles,” trying to pull everything together.
The pivotal moment, she says, is when she made the decision to see a therapist for grief counseling. She remembers that she was asked by the therapist to establish one immediate goal for herself.
“If you could get me to sleep in my bed, that would be a goal,” she told the therapist.
Sessions with her therapist led her to confront abusive relationships prior to her boyfriend, sexual assaults during adolescence, and mental health issues. The deeper they dug, she said, the more she realized the layers of disfunction in her life.
There came a time when putting her story to words became an important step toward recovering from the tragedy that gripped her life for many years. Before then, LaTonya wasn’t much of a writer, she said, but she just wrote and wrote and wrote – often into early hours of the morning when her twin one-year-olds – Sala and Kumani – would be soundly sleeping.
Words became sentences, sentences became chapters, and chapters told her story of triumph.
“If nothing else, I wanted to be able to help somebody, to write something to pass along,” she said of her book, which initially was little more than personal project to help her grieve and process her own emotions. She realized while writing, that the book had to be “more than an emotional purge” if it were to help others.
In 2018, LaTonya and her family moved to Hanover, Pa., and she began to reorganize her life – starting by improving her credit score, going back to school, creating a life coaching business, and focusing on her spirituality.
Today, she looks at her book, “Your Queendom Awaits: How to Let Challenges and Traumas Guide You to Triumph,” as part of her spiritual stewardship. The book, 132 pages in length, is available on Amazon.
She thinks of her book as an offering of advice, “sandwiched with stories of my life,” she said.
“I’m at a point in my life where I think I am thriving.”
~ LaTonya Porter