The following is an excerpt from Are You Susan? by Sue Haines. It’s a featured Speakeasy selection, and there are still limited review copies available for qualified reviewers.
My name is Sue and this my story. I feel deep in my heart that the life I have lived, and the choices I have made, were meant to be shared. Please understand that many parts are extremely intimate details that some may say leave me vulnerable, however, I am not afraid. This was my assignment and Spirit has me.
In my memoir, Are You Susan? I relay many page turning events that led up to me surviving an attempted murder, and, through what can only be attributed to Divine guidance, coming to a place of total forgiveness. This is my journey. It hasn’t been a simple one, no, but it has brought me to joy, peace, compassion and truly understanding what love means.
On March 13, 1986, a paid assassin came to my home and shot me in the abdomen with a 380 automatic. I was just thirty-three years old, and a mother of two young children. The bullet entered just under my breast area, excited my lower back, and proceeded to burrow three inches into the wall behind me. I fell to the ground, the gun jammed, and a voice guided my steps.
I was raised in the fifties, which were such innocent times, in a small bedroom community outside of San Francisco. However, my happy, carefree, childhood all came to a crashing halt when I turned eleven. I never could have imagined the twists and turns my life would take, no one could have. In retrospect, it turns out my life took me exactly where I needed to go to learn some hard truths.
I was that good girl, the good Catholic girl, the one you could count on, the one that did her homework, cleaned her room, played nice, listened to her parents, and never got into trouble. I played Monopoly and caught frogs down at the creek. I was a Girl Scout. I loved going to school, playing outside and helping out at home. I loved my mom and dad. I graduated college, attended proms, got pretty good grades and paid for my own clothes in high school with a part time job. I worked hard for everything I had. I even bought my first car at age seventeen with money I earned myself.
In my memoir, you will be taken on an emotional journey, that culminates first in me facing my perpetrator at court, and later on, meeting him face to face outside of the prison walls. What transpired was surely a miracle.
I have been told that once you start reading this book, you will not be able to put it down. Every word was guided. I am not a professional writer, it is all in my own words, my own accounting of the facts. No ghost writer was used, as it was important for me to be the one telling the story. I invite you to come on this journey, you will not regret it. But, let me give you fair warning, this book will stir up your emotions.
My prayer is that my story somehow gives you not only the hope for a better future, but the permission and ability to forgive everything that has been done to you, whether through intention or by accident. Forgiveness is critical. Even the most egregious violations of human life can be forgiven. I have done it and am here to tell you it is possible. Through God’s good grace I am happy today and grateful for the experiences in my life that got me here.
One last thing, I want everyone to know that forgiveness is for you! Forgiveness will set you free! I pray that each and every one of you will be able to find joy, love, compassion and peace in your own lives through the miracle of forgiveness and that God blesses you.
Praise for Are You Susan?
“Your life’s story is touching and well written. It needs to be shared with many! I applaud you for sharing and helping others who may be in a similar situation today. You soar Sue! I laughed, I cried, I was taken back to my childhood for a brief time. But mostly, I was surprised and impressed by the positive change in your life. You successfully turned your life’s path into a positive one. And, with the experience of having been there, you spoke from your heart. Because of this, you have helped many, turning their life’s path around.”
—Mary Chatigny Harding, Carson City, NV
“It’s a great read, Sue. Your story is especially compelling as you came to forgiveness, which is not a common enough outcome for many victims. You are a beacon of hope for victims of any kind, at any point in their lives.”
—Barbara O’Flaherty-Monsma, Sacramento, CA
“Sue, I started reading the book last night and finished it this morning. Let me start by saying how brave you are for being able to share your story. It is very candid. I think most families have secrets and I think it may be more challenging to expose the secrets rather than keeping them hidden away. I’m amazed at the level of openness. You’re a strong woman and I admire you. Well done! This book sends so many messages for others who have experienced trauma and violence, and will hopefully help those who may need guidance and understanding. Keep speaking and writing!”
—Jennifer Trujillo, Walnut Creek, CA
About the Author
Sue Haines, a survivor of domestic violence and restoration advocate, was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Are you Susan? was guided by her impassioned desire to be of service to others. Equipped with a BA in Human Development and twenty-one years law enforcement experience, she shares her compelling journey of how, after a violent attack on her life, she was able to come to a place of complete and total forgiveness. She did this by God’s grace, her will to thrive, and through the principles of restorative justice. She has spoken to hundreds of audiences across the country, appeared on local cable television, Larry King Live, as well as on two episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show. She resides in Northern California where she is within close proximity to her children and grandchildren. You can find Sue online at areyoususan.com.
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