Call me Ishtar.

My step-father’s name was Bill. He and my mother were married just before I turned 4, and divorced when I was 20.

For most of my childhood, I resented him, fought with him, was completely angry at him.

Eventually, we reached a place as adults where we got along and I grew to respect him. I’m glad that when he and mom split, he stayed in my life. And he was in my daughter’s life. And his third wife is an amazing woman that is still in our lives.

He died rather suddenly in October 2006.

At the time that he died, my then-10-year-old daughter and I were part of the Hidden Homeless. I’d had a serious of failures over several years, and I’d almost completely withdrawn from interacting with the real world.

My best friend, N, lived in a 1 bedroom apartment with two cats. My daughter I moved in and slept on the floor.

This was not where I had pictured my life ending up at the age of 35.

Four years earlier, I’d had a dream job as an electronic engineering technician at Intel. Two years earlier, I’d been going to school to switch careers, and was debt free.

Now, in 2006, I’d failed in school, failed to find a new job, lost my own apartment and my daughter’s sense of security, and now, the man to whom I *needed* to prove myself a success was dead. And he’d never see me succeed.

All good beginnings start at the bottom.