June 12, 2018
Y’all this…I came home from work today and Grace and her boyfriend are removing all the cards and pictures from her walls. I couldn’t even speak when she told me she was taking it down to taupe walls. My Gorgeous started covering her walls in 2012 when she was secretly cutting herself and pulling out her hair. We didn’t know. And then I wrote this letter to some dear friends in 2013 just 3 days after we learned about the cutting and trichotillomania. We didn’t know at the time that less than 3 years later, she would try to kill herself. Through her hurting years, and everyday when she was in the psych ward after her attempt, I would go into her room and pray and touch those walls crying over her pain and begging God for a healing for her. She says she is keeping all the papers. She’s keeping BAZINGA and her Titanic Museum pass and the pics and the Jo-Bros. It’s time for Grace to move on and redecorate. But I know that those papers were life to her sent by God telling her to hold on, reminding her of Pike’s Market in Seattle and participating in the Lillie’s Friend’s 5K, reminding her to be Fearless and to Laugh, and that God Is Good. And she did hold on.
November 3, 2013
Grace has the best wall paper in her bedroom. Her walls are painted a plain taupe, but over the past year, she has been putting up personalized cards all over one wall and she is working her way around the room. They are quotes from TV shows, Bible verses, prayers handwritten by ladies from Kenya, photos, affirmations, drawings, her race number from the Lillie’s Friends 5K, and the little fortunes from Chinese Fortune Cookies. Every inch of her completed walls are covered with something that means something to My Gorgeous. For some reason, BAZINGA speaks to Grace, and so does Dori from Finding Nemo. There are pics of Yvonne, Cathie, and Keith with Grace. Encouragements from cabin-mates from summer camp. And The Jonas Brothers.
I spent some time in Grace’s room last week just looking at her walls. Reading her walls. Touching her walls. Trying to feel what is important to her. Trying to reclaim the day of the 5K, re-taste that fortune cookie, re-smell that fish truck Pike’s Market in Seattle, remember Grace who seems to be slipping away. The years have been kind to her, but they are torturing this Mommie’s heart.
My Grace song is of course Amazing Grace, but I have another. Sweet Child O’ Mine.
She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that
And if I stared too long
I’d probably break down and
She’s got eyes of the bluest skies
And if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain
Her hair reminds me
of a warm safe place
Where as a child I’d hide
And pray for the thunder
And the rain
To quietly pass me by
Sweet child o’ mine
Sweet love of mine
But for Grace, right now, it’s not bright blue skies. It’s thunder and rain. It’s just hard to be a 15 year old girl. Pressure from school. Transition to high school. Not enough time to get everything done. Embarrassing parents who just don’t get it. Annoying sisters. Peer pressure. And Madison Avenue’s opinion about who Grace ought to look like.
My Gorgeous seems like she has lost some of her sparkle, and I don’t know how to help her get it back. I just want to hold onto her. Sitting in church this morning, I put my arm around her shoulders and leaned my head against hers. Then she giggled and said “your eyelashes are tickling me!” Sparkle for me, baby girl. Let Mommie hear your laugh! And tonight in her bedroom, I gave her a tight hug. She has been learning about active and passive transport, osmosis, and diffusion in Biology class lately. I told her that I just want to absorb her. I just want to “osmose” her. She laughed and pointed out that “osmose” isn’t a real word, and osmosis is just with water molecules, and “Mommie please let go of me…you’re squeezing my head!” But she laughed. And she let me squeeze her anyway.
I feel like I am battling a storm and Grace is what will be lost if we sink. I’m not willing. Not when I know The One who controls the storms. Not when I know The One who created Grace. The mind and thoughts and character of My Gorgeous are too important to be lost at sea. She is God’s WOW! She is the fellowship in the Garden. She is the undeserved gift.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! (Psalm 107:28-31 ESV)