‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Dark Night of the Soul

I wonder what happened in some other January, long ago.

It is 1:30am and I just spent two hours comforting a very sad girl in her bed. For the past few nights she's found it very difficult to go to sleep. She has been outrageously grumpy during the day, and bedtime is full of really intense rocking...and tears, along with a good sized helping of self-inflicted verbal abuse. Where does this come from? What happened to my girl some far away January that she is reliving/remembering now?

The negative self talk is devastating to listen to:

" I'm a loser. I'm evil. I'm nothing." or

"Why did I have to be created? Why, mom? I'm not good for ANYthing." and then..

" I suck. I don't deserve you. Please don't hug me, mom, I don't deserve that."

Inside of course I am dying. My heart is ripping apart and some dark thing inhabits my mind. I don't know how to rid myself of the pain, and so I try to hold/not hold my daughter and be with her and hear her while simultaneously trying not to weep from the words I am hearing.

She really emptied out alot tonight. I know I should be grateful. I know, it is good that she at least feels she can open her heart like this to me. But it just breaks mine.

" Mom? Can I tell you the truth about something? I don't believe in God. I'm sorry. I want to, I really want to, but if he really was real, he would have heard me begging him for help when I was so little. He didn't. He let me live like that. Every night I sat by the window when everyone was asleep and begged him and begged him to protect me and bring me my mom. Why didn't he answer me?"

Of course I give her the answers she needs to hear, but she can't accept them. I try. I try to make sense of it for her,but really, how can one make sense of the senseless to someone who lived it for twelve years? I try. I keep trying, but she keeps rocking and pushing me away. I tell her how God did answer both our prayers, but maybe not as quickly as we'd have liked. I tell her how much he adores both of us, to bring us together as He did.

" But why didn't he just put us together in the first place and save us all that trouble?" She asks good questions. I just keep quietly and calmly comforting her as best I can, but I know that she knows I do not have all the answers.

" Why did my stupid birthfather have to die? I didn't even get to meet him and he died on me."


" Why would God let Oksana [birthmom] have a baby if he knew she would just dump me outside?"

Later she asked,

" Why can't I just live my whole life in a little room filled with soft pillows and a furry rug and no people or anything, and I just stay there forever watching movies. I wish I could do that and not feel anything."

Eventually she let me hold her, and she just poured out a litany of apologies:

" I'm sorry I'm a bad daughter. I'm sorry you hate me. I'm sorry I'm a loser. I'm sorry you didn't get the perfect daughter you deserve. You really deserve a perfect daughter and I will never be that. I can't do anything. I can't even love you because I don't even know what that is. Mom, what does love really feel like? Why does everybody talk about love but I never know what they mean by that? I'm sorry I can't love you. I'm sorry I'm lazy and stupid and mean..."

This outpouring lasted almost an hour.

And then it was over. She got up, told me she loved me, and asked if she could go knit for awhile alone and watch tv. " I need it right now, even though it's the middle of the night.."

And I knew she did. It was too much for her. She needed a break from feeling.

And right now, as I type this, I hear her laughing at the tv. But it's a fake, forced laugh like she is trying so hard to find something funny, but really, there is nothing funny at all.


  1. What a tough night for you both! I hope tomorrow is much better.

  2. Hearing the internal dialogue is absolutely heartbreaking. I always wonder how much worse it is in J's head when she's having these external conversation.

    I am so sorry.

  3. Bless you both, thank the Gods that she has a wonderful mam like you to help her through this difficult time. Maybe you could say that God doesn't feel the passage the same way we do? What's a long time to us is only a blink of the eye to such an immense being? Maybe it wont help but it is a valid and truthful explination. Hope fully now she's reached the point where she trusts you enough to share her darkest horrors with you. Getting this off her chest, out in the open and seeing you love her none the less for sharing it. In fact you love her more, if that's possible. I'll be thinking of you both xXx

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