parenting

never say goodbye

“Mom, I just want you to know how much I love you,” she said. I was putting my books and my laptop in my bag, getting ready to leave for class. I was in my second year of law school, and had a three hour class ahead of me.

She came towards me with her arms open for a hug. I smiled, and gave her a big hug.

“I love you, too, pumpkin!”

“I just want you to know how proud I am of you for how hard you work, and I want you to always remember that.”

“Thanks sweetie! I have to go now. Byran has to stop at the store, but he’ll be here in about twenty minutes, ok?”

“Okay.”

“You okay?” She nodded.

I think I asked her if she was okay. That is how I remember it. It would take me an hour to realize with horror what had just happened.

She was telling me goodbye. What did I just do?

Then I got a text message: RACHEL HURT HERSELF BAD. MEET ME AT THE HOSPITAL.

I had been in class for twenty minutes. I stood up and started jamming my books and laptop into my bag, and when my professor looked at me, I announced I had an emergency and had to leave.

When I got to the hospital, I waited for Byran to arrive with my daughter. Her arms, both sides, had long cuts. She was covered in blood. Her legs had cuts from the tops of thighs to her knees.

She had slashed herself to pieces. It made me think of the song Ribbons I hadn’t heard since high school. It was a dark, malevolent homicidal song that reeked of heartbreak and revenge. But, it came to mind nonetheless.

I was only gone for twenty minutes.

I felt like I was shattered into a million pieces. I could see her hurting, hurting so much death seemed like a far superior idea to life. I couldn’t stop the pain. I couldn’t find a solution. So, I sat in the room, holding her hand while she cried tears of agony as the nurse cleaned her wounds. Each one, reopening, and bleeding again before the nurse bandaged them.

I was gone for only twenty minutes.

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