Nashville.

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By the end of the weekend, the random bursts of tears in the car, the hotel room, and the restaurant, had turned to sobbing. The kind of sobbing that makes your body convulse, snot and tears mixing, the emotion turning completely physical.

The girl stood in the middle of the tiny dorm room, screaming because she didn’t want her mom to leave.

Because the minute she walked out the door, the loneliness and darkness would return.

It already was, the daughter could feel it following her the entire weekend. It was her fluctuating emotions that essentially ruined their weekend, how she flipped out in the car about dinner, how she angrily walked away from her mom in the museum and they stayed separated for two hours.

And in the last moments they had together before her mom drove home, she had to watch her daughter crumble into depression and self-hatred, the dark moment filled with tears and words that were not true but words her daughter had firmly come to believe in the last month.

Words like her daughter wasn’t worthy to stay alive. That no one would miss her if she was gone. That nothing was ever going to get better. That she was hated and she hated herself most of all.

But see she had raised her daughter. Her first-born. This little girl-now-woman was beautiful and so deeply loved, and she couldn’t imagine her life without her. She didn’t want to see her daughter go; more than anything she wanted to take her daughter right then, put her in the car, and drive her home.

But she couldn’t. She couldn’t kiss this boo-boo and throw a bandaid over it and make it better; she couldn’t help her daughter off the ground after falling off her bike and tell her she’d be okay and she could try again. She couldn’t comfort her and say there were other boys, that she deserved better, that she’d find love again.

No, this was different. This was a darkness warring within, a place her mother-touch could not reach. The only thing she could do was love hard, and speak the truth over and over until her daughter believed it.

She grabbed her daughter’s shoulders, her mascara smeared and her eyes shut, overcome by her turmoil. She was losing her; she felt helpless, but not hopeless.

Emily, look at me.”

The daughter didn’t open her eyes. She asked again. And again.

Look at me, look at me.”

Her daughter slowly opened her eyes, her curly hair falling around her face.

Repeat after me. Okay? Repeat after me.”

The girl stared blankly at her face.

I am loved.” 

She didn’t respond, so she prodded her.

She repeated in a whisper.

“I am loved.”

I am not alone.” 

“I am not alone.”

I am loved very much by my mom.”

“I am loved very much by my mom.”

“I am loved by my dad. And sometimes my brother.”

That made her laugh.

Her mom listed several other names before continuing.

I am going to be okay. I am going to survive this.” 

“I am going to be okay. I am going to survive this.”

This darkness has no power over me.” 

“This darkness has no power over me.”

She said other things, and she embraced her daughter and prayed over her. Prayed for her daughter’s protection. Prayed her heart would be kept safe from this darkness. Prayed that God would be with her and remind her she wasn’t alone and she wasn’t going to stay this way and she was going to be okay.

She was going to be okay.

/ / /

to be continued. 

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