Fearlessly she says “I would do it all over again. God can get you through anything.”
Many of us get to the point where we just can’t continue and some of us even give up. We go another way, we pursue something different other than what is in our hearts. We snuff out all of our greatest desires and settle for who we are, where we are and what we have at that moment, knowing there will never be anything beyond that. And, above all else we don’t believe that success is possible. Irene Zamarripa is not like that. She is not that kind of human being, not that kind of person, not that kind of woman, not that kind of mother. She will not give up and will not stop.
“No matter what I go through, I don’t stop. I keep working; I keep taking care of other people and my kids and inspire as many people as I can.”
Her mom used drugs, her mom’s boyfriends used drugs and she was abused as a child. She ended up in an unhealthy marriage with three children. The emotion and trauma of a divorce ended her up in a mental institution suffering from a nervous breakdown. The doctors did not want her to leave, but she knew that she didn’t belong there. She knew that she had to pull herself back together to take care of her most cherished possessions – her children. She also knew deep in her heart that she could do it – she could turn everything around.
“Things may get taken away, but God will give it all back.”
She left California in search of a place in which to start over. Ending up in Arizona, taken in by friends, Irene was allowed her to begin her life anew.
She found work in the human services field, an area that is home to her heart and that she had previous experience in. She works as a behavior health therapist helping severely mentally ill people who are going through drug rehab.
In the five years that she has been in Arizona, much has taken place in Irene’s life. Her mother stopped using drugs and became clean. However, from previously sharing needles, she ended up with hepatitis and eventually became very ill. Irene, who by that time had purchased her own home, made room for her mother in order to care for her. Mom’s insurance barely covered her medical needs, so it was Irene who took on yet another job in addition to the two that she already had, to make sure her mother had proper medical treatment, medicine and care. She worked almost around the clock using what little time she was home to tend to her mother, her children and to rest.
Her Mom eventually passed away peacefully and gracefully thanks to her daughter’s care.
“I never made excuses; I keep pushing forward.”
The day after her Mother’s death, Irene was back at work. Her clients needed her – the work did not stop, people’s needs did not dissipate, neither did Irene’s commitment, energy and compassion toward others. She said her Mother’s death was expected and she sent her off with love, so she did not need to grieve. Besides her work, her children needed her to continue on with what she was doing. She had a daughter still in high school, another daughter in college and a son who just completed college. She goes to work no matter what to maintain financial security while the children pursue their education, to help support a beautiful new grandchild and to be there for her clients who need desperately need someone who cares.
“I give, I give, I give.”
Her clients vary. Sometimes it’s women with children, sometimes it’s the head person of a family, sometimes it’s younger people. Some of these people have never been told anything positive about themselves until they met Irene. “All I’ve ever heard from my parents is that I was a piece of shit and that I can’t do anything,” says client after client. She instills in people’s minds that they can do it. They can do anything they want. “Don’t give up; don’t stop no matter what. You can do it!” is her mantra.
If they come to the facility and don’t have clothes, shoes, blankets, Irene has at times personally provided these things for people unconditionally. She would take her own food and share it just to be sure that people had something to eat as they start out with their new beginnings. She has even gone so far as to share her house with families and individuals who needed a place to stay and an opportunity to have a new start.
One young lady was living on the street as a teenager. Irene took her in and inspired her to the point that the young lady finished high school, graduated from college and is now a successful working professional.
She has helped families who would have been living on the street had Irene not allowed them to stay in her home. But, there have been a few occasions where Irene’s kindheartedness has backfired. People would come in, run up bills and disrespect her and her home. Irene would emerge from all negative situations saying “that’s okay, God will give it all back” and she will not hesitate to continue to help others from the bottom of her heart.
It is a powerful thing to help people to empower themselves and believe in themselves. Irene’s son is a competing kick boxer and works with the elderly; one of her daughters is in college and preparing to enter the legal field. Her youngest had great difficulties in high school, but Irene refused to let her allow herself to fail. This year she graduated and has her eyes set on her future goals.
“I will keep moving forward in a positive way…”
Very recently, Irene ended up in the hospital with a severe kidney infection. The hospital staff fully expected her to pass away. She said, “no, give my body another chance; it’s not my time to go yet.” She was determined to watch her daughter graduate. And with that determination, everything reversed. Her blood cell count came back to normal and her organs started functioning properly.
She is dealing with what her doctor considers to be a major heart problem, but to Irene, it is a small one because she is determined “to keep moving forward in a positive way.”
“The sky’s the limit as to what we can do with and for ourselves.”
She is so grateful for her friends for helping her restart her life in Arizona. Irene has recently purchased her second home and despite everything she has been through, pushes forward through all obstacles to success.
Irene Zamarippa wants to speak at schools, conferences and anywhere else that people gather and need inspiration. And who better to inspire than a woman who has overcome so many difficulties as she has in her life? She never allowed herself excuses and continued to forge ahead undaunted no matter what. She stays positive about every situation and pours her heart into helping others.
Remember that Irene says that “YOU CAN DO IT” and then, you can!
Irene will be publishing an inspirational book next year to bring her enthusiasm and encouragement to a broader scope of the human family.
If you would like to contact Irene, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.