When I Died

When I Died

When I died there was no body to bury, no ashes to disperse, and no mourner tears. There wasn’t a celebration of my life or any newspaper notification that I was gone. I was 50 years old, too young to perish so soon. I was the only one at my death, well, my deceased mother and me. She asked me to go with her, but I knew that would be my final journey in this lifetime. I shook my head no and she walked back toward the illuminous light. I died!

A Real Death Experience.

That was my first “near” death experience when I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. I’m reluctant to call it a “near” death experience because I was so awake and conscious of my surroundings. I knew I was in a hospital bed and that I had surgery. I felt no pain, yet, my mother was right in front of me and I could clearly see her face and hear her voice. She gently opened her arms to me.

Was I gone three minutes or three hours? I was confused when I opened my eyes. The room was dark except for the blinking lights on the medical monitors. Then came the pain, a tidal wave of agony so fierce that it took my breath away. I clicked on the nurse’s button and waited for someone to help me.

Jean Died in March of 2007.

I died again in May of 2010, or maybe I should say the woman I was died of Stage IV colon cancer — it came back in my liver. Her name was “Jean” and she was me until the death experiences. When I returned to my hospital bed, I knew Jean had died, and I was happy. Jean grew up in a family of nine children. She was the middle child, often stubborn and angry. Jean was the cause of disturbances in the family, crying and screaming. To shut down her wildness, her father physically and sexually abused her and told her she was belligerent. He controlled Jean with fear and harm. He would glare at her to keep her in-line at the dinner table. And when her father was angry, all her siblings left the house in a hurry to get out of his way. Too defiant, Jean stood her ground, which incensed him more. He wasn’t going to let her win in their daily struggles. He beat her until she grew quiet, but her eyes flashed hatred as she retreated to her bedroom.

So Much Sorrow to Bear.

In the inside, Jean grew up lonely because she had no one to talk to. She only cried in the bathroom so she could wash aways her tears. She had lots of friends who thought she was funny and alive, but the deadness in her soul made her moody. Jean feared family gatherings because she didn’t want to see or talk to her father. She avoided “going home” on many occasions. Jean knew her mother understood what she was doing, but still begged Jean to come home on the holidays. After years of trying, and with a great amount of sorrow, her mother finally gave up on Jean, too.

Now, as Alex, I fully understand the growing years. I apologize to those who I hurt in my struggles to survive, and I’m deeply sorry for the horrible things I did and said. I’m not Jean anymore because I realize the world isn’t so dark (well, it is in many places), and people are kind and gentle. These people are the ones helped me build a better, more hopeful, life!

Please Don’t Call Me Jean!

Yes, a part of me died. There was no one to bury, no ashes to disperse, and no mourner tears. I no longer suffer from terrible nightmares and memories. I don’t hate anymore and I’m open to welcoming my family back into this new life. But please don’t call me Jean. She died and no longer lives inside me.


Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way many times. She survives and shares her experiences and tools with people who are or have been emotionally, physically, sexually,  spiritually traumatized.

The Root of Evil

The Root of Evil
July 4th for Freedom for All!

I read this morning’s newspaper, particularly an article on how the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the LGBTQIA+ in defending homophobic artists and sellers from providing services to this community. Is this the 1960’s again? Was there a time warp? Was I asleep for the last 20 years? We have advanced our rights for equality for the gay community, now, we are falling back into scary, dark times.


Do you wonder why things seem off-balance right now? Just read about the GOP and the far-right movement, and you will understand that these groups are trying to send women’s and equal rights into the past.

I married my wife in 2013 when same-sex marriages became legal in the U.S. That was the most beautiful day in my entire life! Though we had been together for 20 years before this, our marriage certificate is one of the most precious documents we own. Hope was my savior! When Donald Trump became president and the GOP started making noise about making same-sex marriages illegal, fear washed over me.

Fear Is the Root Cause of Evil

Fear is a very disabling and paralyzing emotion that can be seen and felt all around our world. Children and adults all know how it feels to be afraid. Planet Earth is reeling with evil. From country to country, evil is being perpetuated by people who want to rule the world. Men such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Ron DeSantis, Mitch McConnel, and yes, even Pat Robertson, are/were all planters of hate and evil. Religion is also a part of the root cause of evil. By saying they are disciples of God, these men spread disease, mayhem, misogyny, and abuse.

How Do They Perpetuate Fear?

The prominent level of evil is putting a massive amount of stress on those of us who want and fight for a fair and equal society. Men, in their pursuit of power, do everything evil to attain a sense of being the most powerful person. They buy enormous amounts of property, build huge buildings, take over countries, and convince people to give money. They create power through fear! Over the years, these men have enslaved Black people, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community through legislation and lies. We are told we will lose our rights as discrimination explodes.

How Can We Protect Ourselves from Evil Men?

  • First, we need to take pride in who we are! All of us being happy and joyous for the work and service we give to the world.
  • Second, we stop listening to the lies and myths created by men who want to destroy us.
  • Third, we keep voting for politicians who respect each one of us as good people and abide by fair and equal laws.
  • Fourth, we destroy all myths and stories that say we are less.
  • Fifth, honor our lives for our creativity, skills, commitment, determination, and hope.

As we head toward July 4th, I ask all of you to stand up and acknowledge our diversity, cultures, beliefs, and freedoms. We are a free people, and evil men cannot take this country down.

Women are also evil, but men have held the throne of fear from the beginning of time. I will not be fearful!


Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way many times. She survives and shares her experiences and tools with people who are or have been emotionally, physically, sexually,  spiritually traumatized.

April is Prevent Child Abuse Month

April is Prevent Child Abuse Month

This article comes from the American Society for the Positive Care of Children (American SPCC). I thank SPCC for allowing me to reprint this article.

Beyond Abuse Prevention: It’s more than physical

Trauma and abuse can take many forms including physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, neglect, exploitation, and more. When we speak of child maltreatment, we normally first think of physical abuse, but the shocking truth is that neglect is the number one form of child abuse in America.

What signs should parents or other caregivers notice to identify the various types of abuse? 

Every individual responds different to the trauma of abuse, but these are some common indicators to look out for:

  • Physical Abuse: Unexplained bruises, welts, burns, or other injuries
  • Emotional Abuse: Overly adoptive behaviors including inappropriate adult behavior and Inappropriate infant behavior
  • Physical or Emotional: Behavioral extremes including aggressiveness, withdrawal, frightened of parents, and afraid to go home
  • Sexual: Pain or itching in genitalia area or bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual behavior or knowledge
  • Neglect: Consistent hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress, and consistent lack of supervision, especially in dangerous activities or long periods

Create safe spaces for your children to communicate big feelings with you. It’s important that you validate their feelings for the small things, so when big things happen, they know you will be there for them.

When should I report abuse?

Familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of a child’s maltreatment and recognizing it is essential to prevent a child from further abuse and harm and allow them to begin the process of healing.

Any Mandated Reporter will tell you that when in doubt, report. 

For lots of people, reporting can feel scary because we don’t want to be the cause of children being removed from their homes. The intake professionals at your state agency are highly trained, and it will be up to them on how to move forward in a way that is safest for the child, which does not always include family separation.

It’s also important to note that potential signs of abuse that are connected to neglect may sometimes be indicators of poverty rather than negligence. In these instances, homes are full of love but lack the resources to provide the way that they would want. Rather than reporting abuse, in this case, consider asking if the parents are receiving all the public benefits available to them in your area, so they can more fully provide a home where children are well fed, clothed, and rested.

When parents have necessary resources and knowingly deprive children of their basic needs, unfortunately that is considered neglect. There is a drastic difference between a family-unit that is filled with love and care, versus a situation that deprives children of their basic needs. It’s important to be mindful of the nuances of circumstances. However, ultimately our number one priority must be the safety of the child. It truly takes a village to raise happy and healthy children.

Let’s lift people up if we can, and become advocates and safe havens for children who need us most.

What if I realize I have been unintentionally causing my child harm?

Realizing when our parenting has its own imperfections that may impact our children is a huge step in healing families. Nobody is perfect. It is never too late to acknowledge our own traumas to adjust our individual parenting styles to better meet our and our children’s physical and emotional needs.

The best thing parents can do is to educate themselves on their ACES in combination with evidence-based parenting styles to build tools to create positive environments that raise children to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted adults. Self-awareness takes time, patience, and a lot of giving grace to yourself; but you’re not alone!

Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way many times. She survives and shares her experiences and tools with women and men who are or have been traumatized.

Where Does Freedom of Speech End?

The End of Freedom to Speak!

According to the state of Florida, a movie or a book can be banned in schools if one parent complains. What? Yes, that’s right and it seems this trend is creeping out of Florida and into more states – like Tennessee and Wyoming.

Toni Morrison’s book, “The Bluest Eye” is losing her freedom to speak because her book includes a rape scene. Michelangelo’s statue “David” is also being screened because of his naked penis. Additionally, the “Ruby Bridges” movie, created by Disney, is banned because, as one parent says, “It teaches white children to hate black children.”


I’m a published author and I write about trauma, including rape and child abuse. These topics are mentally, socially, physically, and spiritually damaging. Children get hurt, women are assaulted, and men aren’t immune from the effects. Unresolved trauma causes illness and even death. My true story, “Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness” repeatedly proves this. I’m trying my hardest to tell survivors how they can resolve trauma in their minds, bodies, and spirits. Therefore, it takes one parent to object to my book and get it banned in Florida. Why? Because a few of our laws, in this country, are based on a few people’s objections.

Where does freedom of speech end?

It seems to end with one person’s belief that books or movies are found to be offensive. Most writers create fiction and nonfiction to enlighten our world about problems that must be solved. I can tell you that no one writes a book to damage the reader. (Well, horror movies have been known to psyche me out!) Religious beliefs also get in the way of freedom of speech. Is there trauma in the Bible? Sure, look at what happened to Adam and Eve when they were thrown out of paradise? They had to start over in a world with ferocious tigers, poisonous snakes, severe weather conditions, famine, death, and cruelty. Our ancestors prove time and time again that we can and do survive trauma through writing and reading.

Get a Clue, Parents!

As a child grows, she/he/them/they will confront with most, if not many, of the world’s tragedies. Though a life fact, trauma happens even if we shield our children from it, causing kids to grow up frightened, insecure, self-conscious, and unprepared for hardships. Is this what we want for our children? NO! Protecting our children is great but overprotecting them is damaging. How can children see the good in the world if they can’t compare it to the uglies in life?

How You Can Help

Encourage children to read books and watch movies that expand their knowledge and encourage empathy. If your child does see or read something that you find offensive, sit down and talk with them about the reality and truth of the story or movie. What is the lesson? Lessons are everywhere and those children who want to learn will be grateful for the TRUTH!

Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way many times. She survives and shares her experiences and tools with women and men who are or have been traumatized.

When Is Enough — Enough?

When Is Enough — Enough?

This past January, I turned 66. I noticed I was slowing down more than ever. I still have word search problems (Aphasia), extreme fatigue, balance issues, and short-term memory loss. I thought old age was coming after me with a vengeance having lived with diabetes for 50 years. But oh, how I missed the signs of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)!

I didn’t fall and hit my head like Amy Zellmer did, author of [Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury: Finding the Road Back to Normal], but I had Stage IV colon cancer (twice) and went through 18 sessions of chemotherapy (24 hours each — equaling 432 total hours). After reading Amy’s book, I contacted her and asked if my cancer treatments could cause TBI.

She responded, “YES — chemo brain is often referred to as a ‘chemical concussion,’ and I hear it over and over again.”

Amy Zellmer


I went to bed that night wondering when enough is enough. Trauma of the brain is so scary, and I realized after reading Amy’s book that it is complex and so misunderstood. People undervalue those of us with TBI with comments like “It’s just a concussion, you’ll be fine,” or “You just fell and hit your head–it will heal.”  Amy says, “This invisible illness is very real.”

In Amy’s comforting and kind words, I found a new “angel” in my life who delivered a very crucial message to me. I have TBI!

Am I angry? Does this knowledge make me sad? Yes, of course, I am, but in Amy’s story I found someone who told me the truth directly and without pity. Like my cancer, diabetes, and now TBI, I can assure you that I’ll never give up living this life as fully as I can. Through Amy’s book I found the courage to accept this news and begin again.

Amy Zellner

Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury, is a collection of Amy’s short articles, some of which were published in The Huffington Post. This book is perfect for TBI survivors and the rest of the world to gain a better understanding of the frustrations and struggles TBI survivors go through. We aren’t lazy or not paying attention, our words get jumbled and meanings are lost to us. We can’t remember how to use things like, for Amy, the microwave, or me the computer. We have to learn and relearn information every day. We sleep lots or not at all and the reason for this is our brains are trying to heal. Lots of people think that it takes a mere few months for the brain to heal, but in reality, our brains try to heal every day and night.

Understanding Is the Key

I’m slow, I sleep, I stumble over words, but I am a woman trying to live Life’s trials and tribulations. I ask for your understanding before you judge me on my inabilities to be “normal.” I live a “new normal” life with constant pain and tremendous self-doubt. But, I’m alive and I’d go through TBI hell to have this life I’m living. And I have Amy Zellmer to thank for writing this book and for the courage to keep going.  As I always say, “NEVER GIVE UP!” I won’t — will you?  Order and read Amy’s book today at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Life+with+a+brain+injury&i=stripbooks&crid=2UZHWN7GSKPMF&sprefix=life+with+a+brain+injury%2Cstripbooks%2C106&ref=nb_sb_noss

Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle.
Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way many times.
She survived and shares her experiences and tools with women and men
who have been traumatized.