She was a beautiful child of seven; filled with joy and life. She loved to sing and dance and play pretend with her siblings. One day, a man walked into her life. A man we’ll call Tom.

This man was a very unhappy person–although you couldn’t tell it by looking at him. He had a wife, children, a fulfilling job and a beautiful home. But it wasn’t enough for Tom. He wanted more.

The day Tom ran into our little friend was the day her death sentence was sealed. See, Tom had a hole where his heart should have been. He was so utterly unhappy with himself. Alas, I don’t know if unhappiness is the right word. Tom despised himself. He despised his lack of energy, of creativity–of pure joy. And so he set out to steal some.

The moment Tom set eyes on Emily, he knew. This girl was a wealth of pure unadulterated joy. And without thinking twice, Tom reached out his hand and grabbed.

My little child never had a funeral. She was never mourned by her family and friends. Because her body–it still walked, talked and breathed. To everyone–even to her–nothing had changed. She still saw her little self in the mirror every morning. Some days she even smiled.

But something had died. The giant bonefire of joy that once resided in her heart was black, snuffed out by Tom’s grubby fingers. Evil had touched her, and her simple yellow tunnel vision had widened to reveal a black, black universe.

My child never got to grow to adulthood. She disappeared somewhere in the leap from being a seven year old girl to being a tiny adult.

Now Emily’s grown to adulthood. When I look in the mirror, I see her face–her grown up body. But when I endeavor to look into those eyes…I see a different person.

One who spent her childhood squeezing her eyes shut to the evil in the world.

Smothering the embers of her bonefire so she wouldn’t have to remember.

Putting on such a tough mask…that even the adults were scared of her.

Staying miles away from human touch so she wouldn’t be murdered again.

I mourn the loss of my child every single day. But Tom didn’t win. He didn’t succeed. You know why? Cuz sometimes…when I stare deep into the coal brown of her eyes, I can see a stubborn spark leap towards me. And I know. I know that if I fan those ashey embers enough, my beautiful little girl will rise up from the grave and make me whole again.

Posted in survivors-letters.

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