Sometimes all it takes is one life-changing event for things to spiral out of control.
For Connie Adams, it was the murder of her daughter, Lizzie, last May at her Irving apartment complex.
Her 15-year-old son, Timothy, witnessed it. And after, 11-year-old daughter, Jennifer, who's autistic, began making threats to kill herself. She was hospitalized last month. She can’t be left alone.
Connie missed so much work that she lost her job two months ago. She’s fallen behind on the bills.
They are two months behind on rent. The eviction notice arrived Thursday.
“I’m just lost,” she said. “I’m afraid that if I don’t figure out something, I will lose my kid and I’ve always said, ‘If I lose my kids, I’m not going to survive. I’m not.”
Connie’s not sure what she'll do. The walls are closing in.
The $1,200 she receives in disability for the children doesn’t come even close to covering all the bills. Their father isn’t in the picture.
Three times a week, Connie leaves at 6 a.m. to take Timothy, who was born with one kidney, to Children's Medical Center of Dallas for four hours of dialysis. He nearly died when he was born and doctors told her he wouldn’t live past the age of 8. Without dialysis, Timothy will die.
Connie can’t afford to buy the food that Timothy needs to stay healthy.
“It can’t have phosphorus,” she said. “It can’t have salt. It can’t have potassium. It can’t have a lot of stuff in it.
“The stuff that I have to eat is extremely expensive,” Timothy added.
The food in the house consists of hamburger helper, a jar of peanut butter and tea bags.
Timothy didn’t make it to his dialysis appointment Monday.
The temporary tire she’d been driving on for so long finally gave out. She doesn’t have the money for a new one, much less the alignment that the car needs.
She’s determined to get him there Wednesday.
Timothy is trying to be the man of the house. He says when he turns 16, he’s going to get a job and try to help out his mother.
Connie worries about him. He’s been having emotional breakdowns over the prospect of having nowhere to live.
She lives with the constant worry that Jennifer will hurt herself. Jennifer tells her mother that she wants to be with her sister.
“I was like, ‘We need you here,'” she said. “I don’t want to lose another daughter.”
It makes looking for work almost impossible.
“I don’t splurge, I don’t,” Connie said. “It hurts when I have to ask a friend, ‘Hey, can I borrow a couple of dollars for gas.”
None of them sleep well. They all have PTSD from the trauma of what happened.
Timothy constantly has nightmares about the horror he witnessed that day.
Lizzie and her new boyfriend were killed on May 18, 2016, in Connie’s apartment. Police say her former boyfriend and the father of her two small children came to the apartment with a shotgun and killed them in the upstairs bathroom. He is scheduled to go on trial on a capital murder trial later this year.
Connie and the kids moved into another apartment in the same complex. They lost pretty much everything because the shotgun blast caused the toilet to explode and flooded the entire apartment with blood and water.
Almost everything they have now has been donated.
“We ain’t got that much and I really don’t want to lose what little we have,” she said.
The deadline to move out was Friday. Otherwise, she'll have an eviction on her record. She didn’t move out Friday. She had nowhere to go. She’s checked in at all the local shelters, but has found no place for them to go.
She can’t bear to pack the few mementos she has of Lizzie. Packing them up feels like putting Lizzie away, she says.
“I sit up there sometimes and hope that I would hear her,” she said. “Sometimes I wish she was here so I could talk to her. She always helped me through things. I feel like I lost my rock.”
She keeps the Monster drink that Lizzie asked her to buy the day she died on a bookshelf in her apartment, along with Lizzie’s pictures, her diploma and the items they put on Lizzie’s grave at Christmas.
Lizzie’s two children are with the father's mother. Connie sees them as often as she can.
People tell Connie to pray and that God will open another door.
“I’ve already got their clothes packed,” she said through tears. “Where do I take it? What am I supposed to do? Where am I supposed to go?”
A GoFundMe has been set up to try to help Connie and her kids.