March 22, 2014

The Long Road of Healing

Don’t cry little one.  Take my hand.  Let us walk against the wind together.  Let me be the hand that guides you back to hope.  Back to love. – source unknown

Sometimes I forget.  I forget the years of his life that he spent alone.  Trapped in a crib that was less like a bed and more like a cage.  No matter how much he cried, there was no one to comfort him or hold him or rock him to sleep.  And sleep was rare for him, not only because of the constant pain caused by his medical condition, but because of the strangers who came in his room, coming in at all hours of the day and night.  Strangers who would do painful, excruciating things to his frail body.  He would scream and wail, begging them to stop, but they only restrained him more firmly, pinning down his arms and legs so that he could not escape their torment.  Sometimes I forget the horrible trauma that this child has experienced.

He may have no specific memories of those early years.  He would never be able to articulate now what happened to him, or describe why, even though it’s been several years, he continues to have frequent nightmares and unexplained anxiety.  Why he doesn’t want his Mama out of his sight for even a second.  Why hasn’t he gotten over it yet?  He has been rescued from that former life, and theoretically he should be living happily every in the safety and security of his loving family. 

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.  His body remembers.  His cells have not forgotten.  His soul bears the invisible scars of being abandoned.  The excruciating physical pain.  The utter helplessness.

Is it any wonder that he is plagued by fear?  That unfamiliar situations cause him stress? That he is hyper-alert to his surroundings at all times and doesn’t tolerate surprises or unexpected changes to his routine?   Even being hugged too tightly or being pinned during a tickle fight causes terrified shrieking.  The uncertainty and insecurity, the hidden wounds that are still healing, have taken a terrible toll on his behavior.  The behavior that everyone can see.