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Friday, May 22, 2020

Dear Momma


Dear Momma,
Remember this moment.
She is now asleep next to you.
She is safe.
It’s all okay now.
Remember this moment -God brought you through it.

About two hours ago….
Your lip swelled after she knocked her head back to head butt you.
Your cheek stung when she slapped you.
Your foot hurt as she hammered down on it with her heel.
Her Elbows tried to dig in your ribs. 
She punched your back and legs and anywhere she could.
She snapped at you with her teeth trying to bite you.
Her body writhing in anger possessed by this demon of depression--
She was trying to hurt herself and anyone else….
She almost crushed your glasses and you quickly moved them.

You held her in a proper restraint doing all you could to keep her safe… but worst of all were her words:

Telling you that you’re nothing.
"You don't care."
"I hate you."
"You are a terrible parent. "
"You have failed."
"No one really likes you."  
She wishes she was never born.
She wishes you would go away and never come back.
She says she wants to die repeatedly.               
"If you loved me, you would let me die and go to heaven."
"Leave me alone.  You don't care about me anyway." 
She is so angry and so sad.
You prayed and asked God to help you stay steady and not react.

When you didn't know how to continue to you reached out to call her aunts/ your best friends so she could hear that others love her.
And…so, you could draw strength from their presence and prayers.

You kept focused.
You prayed.

Even when you tried to say, "I love you."
She became more fearsome and lashed out more.

So, from then on you only said, "When you drink the water and take a bath, I will let you go and leave you alone."

She said, "I want to die."

You asked, "What is your plan?"

She said, "I am not going to cut myself or shoot myself that would hurt too much. I will just refuse to drink and eat and I will starve and die."

It took everything you had not to say a word- not to react- to simply stay focused on holding her safely  and keeping her from hurting herself or you more.

When you called her aunts she was polite and wanted the conversation to end.

She said you made her feel guilty and like a monster.

She said, as she often does, "You are the worst.  You don’t know how to do anything right.  You are bad at calming me down."

The phone calls were a mirror where she could not deny her behavior.

It was a moment for you to know you were not alone.

You had to send Dad away to another room, because he screamed when she threatened you and then she reacted worse.

You had to ask her big sister to go upstairs because this was not something she needed to be part of and every time she tried to help she could only talk about wanting to play her video game with her sister-- so then she was screamed at and told she was selfish and didn't care.    

You knew--- they just didn't have the capacity to give what was needed at the time.   

You… didn't have the capacity either.

And yet God supplied it.

Finally- like a miracle-- she said- "I'll drink the water."

She took a sip.

You said, "How about you have 11 sips, since you are 11."

She did it.

Then you said- "Great now you can take a bath."

You said," I'll get the bath all ready for you."

You turned your back for a moment to get the water going and you didn't know where she went.

You ran downstairs, heart pounding with so much worry, fearing she had gone outside in the rain or gone to hurt herself.

But then you found her on the floor in her sister's room cuddling the dog.

You got everything ready.

Lavender Epson salts in the water.

Her muscles ached from refusing to get out of bed for a few days.

You placed a hot towel on her back.

You rubbed her feet.

You stayed quiet.

She looked up and said, "I hate that I feel so mad. This is not how I want to feel. I'm sorry I said all those terrible things to you.  I didn't mean them.  At least not all of them.  I'm sorry I hit you and hurt you."

You told her you loved her, you forgave her, you were there to hep her.

And then you stopped talking.

And listened.

And listened.

She talked about how laying in bed watching TV was the only thing that made her feel good.

You reminded her of spring break and how you all did art and exercise and had fun.

You mentioned how fun hiking last week was.

She got mad and splashed you.

You calmly reached for the towel and wiped yourself off. 

She said, "Mom!  You can't just get up and do stuff when you feel bad.  When you don't want to get out of bed, you just want to lay there and watch TV.  It's the only thing that helps."

You said, "Until that wears off.  It just numbs it for a while."

She said, "Sometimes I want to feel numb."


You washed her hair.
You conditioned it.
She got mad again and screamed about getting out.
You stayed calm and said, "Let's rinse the conditioner out."
She relented.
Then she let herself lay back in the warm bath and she closed her eyes and breathed.
You breathed too.
Then she rested a bit.
Then she was done and wanted out.

You asked her to stay while you got fresh towels.
She complied.
She got dry and but still felt weak.
She decided to crab walk to the room with her towel on.
Your room.
She hasn't slept in her own room most of Quarantine.

You got her dressed. 
She asked you to fix the bed and you did.
You got a hairbrush and brushed her hair.

She said she wanted a haircut.
"Momma cut my hair now!"

You said, "I'm not good at that, but I'm happy to get an appointment for you.  For now, I can brush it and braid it and get it out of your way."

You slowly brushed all the knots and mats out.
You braided her hair.
She laughed and told you stories.

Remember this Momma.
You sat brushing her hair and she said, "I love you Momma."

An hour before she was telling you she hated you and wanted to die.

She colored on a coloring app while telling you stories.

Today you pushed depression back.

But it was not defeated.

And you still you resiliently resisted.

You breathe and remember the advice a church member gave you when you brought your first child home, "You only need to keep them alive."

Advice meant to keep you from worrying about all the other stuff. 

It's harder than you think.

Every day-- Just keep them alive.

They will hate you, then love you, they will know everything, and you will know nothing.

Do not react.

Love.
And keep them alive.
Trust in God and hope.
Keep on loving.  It will get better.

For now--rest.
Then let your busted lip heal.
Eat some food.
Take care of yourself.
Read this and remember whenever you need it.

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