Note: This story was contributed by Vender Wright and was first published in Yantis’s The Community Chronicle. Photo by Taylor Nye
Vender Wright, a two year Ms. Hopkins County Senior Classic Queen and winner of 2022 Ms. Texas Senior Classic Pageant shares her heartwarming story of perseverance and how she’s been able to keep her head up despite adversity close to home.
In a recent article published in The Community Chronicle, Mrs. Wright relays her optimistic pursuits and wants all of North East Texas to know that no matter what, you can always find light in your journey.
“Be optimistic and persevere despite the challenges we face in life. I can personally attest to the existence of a light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll triumph! “
Mrs. Wright goes on to share the details of her mother’s life threatening seizure that charted a path of accelerated growth for young Vender. Read as she goes over the relationship of her mother’s ailments and the growing responsibilities of family life.
“In my life, I have witnessed a lot. I’ve experienced both defeat and success, but it does so to fortify us. I was forced to take on the role of an adult at a very young age.
I was about eight years old when I heard something hit the floor one night.
As I dashed into the living room, my mother was lying on the floor in a puddle of blood. She had experienced her first grand mal seizure. I quickly sought help so she could be transported to the hospital.
She spent a lot of time at Baylor Hospital. That really frightened me, but it was the first step in learning how to move forward and not let a trial triumph over me.
My obligations grew as I grew older. My parents divorced when I was in my pre-teens, I got a job earlier than most young people, I helped look after my younger siblings, and the list goes on.
Sadly, my mother’s condition did not improve.
She would consistently experience seizures that lasted more than five minutes. Due to so many health issues, there was always the worry that Mom may pass away, leaving my siblings and I without a mother.
She underwent her first open heart surgery in the 1970s. Her mitral valve required replacement. So a pig’s valve was used in its place. She experienced that for almost 10 years before succumbing to congestive heart failure. On top of that, she took numerous drugs in order to survive.
Thankfully, her surgery was successful, and she was released.
Not to mention I was supporting my family while working and had been married for about ten years with three children by this point in my life.
You’d think I’d be leading a happy, conventional family life, but taking care of an ailing mother was difficult. This had an impact on my home.
Due to extended hospital stays in Dallas, my kids occasionally had to miss school to be with relatives. Unfortunately, my mother started complaining of a headache a few days after she was discharged from the hospital after being treated for congestive heart failure. She pointed to the base of the head when I asked her where it hurt.
I rushed her to Baylor Hospital where the physicians performed all the necessary tests and found that she was critically ill.
They were unable to give me even a 20/40 chance. My Lord, I told the physicians,
“God got her. Just do what you can.”
She had brain surgery, which was a very lengthy surgery. Seven days after the treatment, she was released after making a speedy recovery, returned home, and was doing well.
My mother was a fighter and bounced back many times from health issues. Thank God she lived for 58 years before she gained her wings!”
Wright accredits this time looking after her mother as a character strengthening period of her life. Former Senior Classic Queen shares her inspirations and lasting beliefs that have kept her going.
“My singing and faith have carried me through every storm and conflict. I used to enjoy singing and playing music on a 45 pm record player when I was younger.
One of my musical role models was Mrs. Scott, who taught music at Douglas Elementary School while I was in the 5th grade.
She also taught choir in the eighth grade, and I loved it!”
“My peace and escape came from music. At school, I would participate in talent shows and really enjoy myself. This served as my therapy throughout all of my hardships, even up to this point in my life.”
Where a love of music and performance meets pageantry and honest victory, we’re glad Wright has the group of influences around her who opened the door to her crowning successes.
“Let’s wind forward to 2019. Peggy Crist and Karen Weatherman persuaded me to enter the senior pageants. I unexpectedly took home the title of Ms. Hopkins County Senior Classic Oueen in 2019.
I held the crown in 2019 and 2020 as a result of COVID. In September 2022, I competed in and unexpectedly won the Ms. Texas Senior Classic Pageant. This is my fourth year participating in senior pageants, and it has been well worth it.”
Write concludes her story with advice for the readers. Here’s what she’s learned from her journey and how she hopes to continue forward.
“I firmly believe, as I have done over the years, that one should always carry a song in your heart, pray, and press forward.
The blessing and challenge of helping my mother has helped to mold and shape me into the Woman of God I am today, along with all the other things life may bring.
Thank God I am still on my journey and excited about where God will take me next!“