Benita Alioth moved back to her childhood home just before Christmas 2007 to care for her aging mother. On October 22, 2008, she woke to her mother’s call for help. The house was on fire. When Benita tried to pick up her mom, they both fell to the floor and were engulfed in flames. She wasn’t able to save her mother. Benita was in a coma for 12 weeks with second and third degree burns over 48 percent of her body.
“I learned that beauty came from the inside, not from the outside.”
Until something tragic happens to you, when that lightning strikes, it makes you vulnerable. When you have that vulnerability, your eyes open up to others who have vulnerability. You can see it. Through this whole experience of pain and healing, I have become a more spiritual person. I’m dealing with each day as it comes. I’ve learned that I can still look forward to some goodness and I’ve learned to be more humble. I’ve learned how to slow down and listen. Before, what was important to me was what I looked like on the outside. I always had to have my makeup on and my hair combed. I have friends that still tell me, “Benita, don’t you understand? We’ve always loved you for the person you are inside. Do you know how beautiful you are?” I’ve learned to listen to people. I’ve learned to accept people for their conditions. I learned that every day is a gift. Every day, I’m grateful to be here.
Benita Alioth short audio clip
Benita Alioth full audio
- Who in your life do you struggle to understand or have no desire to understand? How would you change if you did understand or try to understand them?
- What do you see as the source of your beauty? Is it external or internal?
- When is a time that you’ve been vulnerable? What came out of that? Did you change at all?
- What are three things you’ve learned as a result of a struggle or tragic event in your life?
- What line stands out to you in Benita’s poem? Why does it stand out to you?