Lye Attack Victim Forgives Husband In Book
"So much more blessed than I was," she says.
Lye attack victim Carmen Tarleton has every right to be angry. The 44-year old registered nurse suffered an attack at the hands of her ex-husband, Herb Rodgers, which left her in a state that doctors called "the most horrific injury a human being could suffer." He mercilessly beat her with a baseball bat, breaking her arm and fracturing her eye socket, before dousing her head-to-toe with industrial strength lye.
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The lye attack left Tarleton with severe burns all over her body and left her permanently disfigured and legally blind. Recovering from the attack has opened her eyes to the power of positive thinking, and the lye attack victim told the AP that she feels "so much more blessed than I was" before the attack.
"I think I can help a whole bunch of people, not just domestic violence people," she said. "I think I can help a whole bunch of people wherever you are in your life."
The help is coming in March when Writers of the Round Table Press publishes Tarleton's memoir 'Overcome: Burned, Blinded, And Blessed.' The lye attack victim has been working on the book while undergoing surgeries to repair the damage from the 2007 attack. (She is currently a candidate for a face transplant.)
The lye attack victim said revisiting the attack in her mind to record the details for the book was a scary, two-day experience.
"I felt physically ill with what I was doing," she writes in the book. "The experience of reliving that night, trying to capture every detail as vividly as I remembered it, was sickening. Halfway through, I let my pen drop and rushed to my bedroom, the edges of my limited vision blackening."
The book tells of the obvious aftermath of the lye attack: how she faced her attacker in court, accepted being blind and disfigured and managed the pain of surgeries and rehabilitation. It also contains uplifting stories about the help and support she received from family, friends and her community as well as how she chose to forgive Rodgers for the lye attack so she could move forward with her life.
"When life gives you a big negative situation like I'd been through, if you can get through that, you can really find all of the blessings and all of the positive things that can come out of that," she said in the interview. "And I found so much that I would not go back."
The lye attack victim also maintains a blog on her book's website that espouses the virtues of positive thinking and serves as an inspiration for those seeking hope in tragedy. She uses her experience to give others an example of how someone going through dark times can recover.
"After my injury, I felt that I made the choice to live, so I was going to find my way back to happiness. I had to find that natural confidence in life that I had as a child; that feeling that all is well even though you have no idea what is going to happen, and the feeling that you can control a lot of what you live, just by attitude alone," she writes. "Patience isn't really patience at all. It is the ability to watch life unfold right before you, without the need to have it different than what is. It is the knowing that you knew as a child. The one you let go of. Go back there and you will find many gifts; Gifts you would never have consciously given away."
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