Born out of Pain by Debbie Dannheisser

Anniversaries are interesting things. They can be times of great joy, or great sorrow. For Dan and me, as the anniversary of that horrific day when we lost our daughter, Nicole, approaches, the memories and the sorrow are once again overwhelming.
One year ago, we were feeling so optimistic about Nicole. Though she had struggled with drugs, she seemed to be doing so much better, clean (or so we thought), with a new job, and therapy that seemed to be going well.
Nicole and I had been shopping for new clothes for her to wear to her new job and her dad had bought her a car and given it to her on that very day, just a year ago. My family from Georgia was all here at home playing dominos that evening, as my mom was scheduled to have heart surgery the next morning.
Everything was so normal, until two policemen came to the door. We joked that Dan had done something wrong and they were coming to get him.
As they asked us if we were the parents of Nicole, we knew immediately what had happened. It was our worst fear realized. Dan and I and the two policemen went to our bedroom to avoid upsetting my 94-year-old mother. As the news sank into our hearts, we realized we would somehow have to return to the table and pretend nothing had happened, so my mother would not know. We made up some ridiculous story and the game of dominos ended, as we tried to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other.
As you can imagine, we were devastated. That night was followed by many nights of pain and grief that suddenly take over your body. On one of those sleepless nights, as I was holding my husband, I prayed for something that would make a difference, some glimmer of hope that would help us move forward. I asked for guidance, I asked God, I asked Nicole, the angels, anyone to help me and my husband bring some meaning to this seemingly senseless tragedy.
Somehow, finally, that message came through. We had to change the pattern of our lives. We had to stop looking back at what might have been, and start looking forward once again. We had to rediscover the love and beauty in life, especially within ourselves.
That is what Nicole had never been able to do. She could not see the love or beauty that flowed from within. She could not feel it, so she could not believe in it.
This is now our mission in life. Through this pain and loss, we decided to dedicate my art-based clothing line, Threads, to Nicole, in remembrance of her beautiful and gentle spirit. It is a daily reminder of our love for her that hopefully will serve to remind others to celebrate their own inner beauty and love.
There is magic in these garments. Magic, born out of pain.

Celebrating the beauty to be found in every day,

~ Debbie    


  • Judy Athari

    Thank you for sharing a subject many are uncomfortable to approach. Thank you also for celebrating life and moving forward with hope and possibilities. I have worn my recent threads purchases (3) this week and every time I get complimented on the vibrant, bold colors. I love sharing your story and I’m wearing my “Nicole’s Abstract” skirt today, appropriately reading your first blog. Undoubtedly, you will make a difference to many families.

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