Sara was quickly becoming my Saint with Sela. As I was facing my own personal tragedies with Savi, Sara was staying behind and caring for Sela. Sara was the one that taught Sela to eat with a spoon, change her diapers, make her bottles, do the laundry, clean the house, just everything that a typical everyday mother does, Sara was doing.
When I was facing horrible times Sara was right there to wrap her arms around me telling me how great of a mother I really was. I never ever felt that way. I actually felt like a failure as a mother, I often wondered what I did wrong and guilt had moved into my mind and it was not moving out any time soon. I was plagued with hate, envy, horrible thoughts, tears, pain, I mean the list goes on and on.
This is when it gets real personal and really painful because what I was about to feel and go through, witnessed, familiar with, I hope and pray that whoever reads this does know it can and will happen to any single mother or family with a mom and dad. Often opening up about what I am going to share not only brings up horrible memories but it means I will be opening my closet full of my very own skeletons. It means being 100% truthful even if it makes me look bad.
I remember some of the worst things and other things I have packed away wanting so desperately to never remember, to never ever think of what it caused my family to ever go through. But if I can help just one person than all this blogging has come full circle.
There is Nothing But Darkness, there is no light to ever guide me or help me, there is no sound, there is no happy memories, there is pain I have caused, their are others that have caused me pain, there is truth, there is why, there is no real answer.
This is the day I found my world of darkness, this is the day that hurts so badly.....
I remember it as if it happened two seconds ago because something so tragic that happens to any parent, a step parent, a legal guardian, a foster parent, you just never forget. You don't forget what the weather was like, the time, the day, the very second that it happened. You don't forget where you were and ultimately you will die with that very thought embedded into your memory bank forever.
Every single mother out there wants to believe that they are in fact a good mom. No matter what! We want to believe that we are good mom's and yes, even drug addict moms, alcoholic mom's we want to believe that we are good mom's. But facing the truth and understanding why we do what we do is, I wouldn't say liberating, but standing on your own two feet and actually being able to say the truth no matter how it looks upon yourself.
When Savi entered the kitchen after hiding out in her room for days, she was wearing striped blue and white pajamas, a mauve sweater, her hair was all the way down to the middle of her back and as usual it was very greasy and very dirty. Her once beautiful face was becoming to look exhausted, her eyes sharing the dark circles underneath, her long skinny fingers looking frail. She was only thirteen years old and I could tell that she was just a lost soul. Once upon a time when she looked at me I could see me in her eyes, I could see the smile on her face, I could hear the laughter that she shared with Sara, I could hear the love coming from her voice.
Yet, then when I looked at her, she was blank, she was empty, she was lifeless. Was this a clue to what was to come?
I was standing next to the stove top in the kitchen facing away from the window. It was Saturday at 2:04 pm. I was making Sela a snack when Savi asked for a cup to have a drink from the fridge. I opened the cabinet with my right hand taking a plastic purple cup then closing the cabinet handing it to Savi. As she reached with her right arm of her mauve sleeve moved and that was when I saw it.
She had been cutting herself all over her arms. I remember just freaking out, I remember screaming, I remember forcing her to pull up her sleeves and when she did but with a fight, she finally gave in and when she did I saw for the first time both of her arms just completely cut up. There was old scars with dried up blood that had clotted, there was fresh cuts with dried up blood and there was cuts that had wanted to heal yet they appeared to re-cut once again. It went from the wrist of both arms to the elbows of both arms.
Savi instantly became embarrassed, she looked down at the ground she couldn't look at me, all I could do is hold both of her arms shocked and riddled with pain for her. I remember grabbing her and holding her so tightly screaming over and no, "NO, NO, BABY NO" I continued to hold her and yet she fought to pull me off of her but I was to strong for her now weak body. I refused to let her go, I refused to look at her, I refused to see her face. Never experiencing something like this or how to deal with it, well, I didn't deal with it in the best form. After finally letting go of her desperately wanting to get out of my grips of my arms I remember yelling at her so loudly, I remember screaming, I remember asking why over and over. I remember demanding an answer. I remember I just couldn't shut up. I never once ever gave her any room to speak, I never treated her with respect, I never tried to understand. I was just freaking out that now I believed she was trying to kill herself.
Why did I believe that she was trying to kill herself?
Raiza and I had taken up walking each and every night all through the mobile home park. That night, Thursday night for some reason Savi wanted to go with us. She had never shown any interest or cared about wanting to walk with myself and Raiza ever before. I was somewhat shocked that she even asked to go but quickly accepted her wanting to be with us. As Raiza and I kept up our always brisk pace, Savi had fallen behind a few feet. It was as if she was in her own world. She just continued to stay behind and yet I never gave it a second thought that from that night on my world was about to change in one single breath.
Friday, 2:40 PM
Well, Sara and Savi were in middle school and there was a regular bus time that dropped off kids after school then there was a late bus that dropped off kids if they wanted to stay and work on homework or had after school sports. I had just gotten off work from Red Robin. I came home and planted myself on my office desk chair taking off my smelly shoes then rubbing my aching feet. I took out my tips and began counting them when Sara walked through the back door of our mobile home.
Sara was just always so very smart, she could just look at her homework and know just how to do math, spelling test, English test, history test. She was born with that photographic memory. God knows she didn't get it from me. If and when I ever had to study for anything in my life it was severe effort to actually understand what a word meant or any other things related to what I was or had to study.
When I turned to see Sara she walked over and kissed me on the cheek telling me that she had a great day at school. I immediately asked where Savi was and Sara told me that she wasn't on the bus. I became alarmed but quickly thought maybe she had to stay after school to make up for some homework or take a test. The late bus always showed up at as usual at 4:10 pm. As the kids got off the late bus I was expecting to see Savi and yet Savi wasn't on the bus. I remained planted by the kitchen window watching all the late kids emerge from the bus and as I counted all but maybe fifteen kids, Savi was not part of that small crowd.
I remember once again I was quickly becoming panicky, I began asking Sara if she was even at school today and she told me that she had lunch with her. She told me that Savi was acting differently. She seemed to be confused about things. The time was now 5:34 PM and that was when my phone rang. The caller ID said, "UNKNOWN" I never answer phone calls coming in as UNKNOWN because nine times out of ten they are just stupid calls. But I could hear the soft whispers of inner voice telling me with such a sympathetic yet strong urgency in her voice, "you need to take this call, answer your phone"
"Hello, this is Officer Bradly, (his true last name) are you the mother of Savi?" instant panic rang loudly inside my head along blood curdling thoughts flooded my through my veins, there was no blood anymore it was instantly replaced with absolute sheer panic, my heart quivered feeling the strong beats pumping in my chest my breath erratic, my body began to shake. My world went at an absolute tilt then began without warning it began rotating backwards.
"Yes, I'm Savi's mother" I tried to sound calm, I tried sound as if it was another phone call from someone every day. I believe my heart even skipped quite a few beats. I remember Raiza showing up wanting to ask if we were going to walk that night. I remember the concerned look on her face when she saw me, I could see her lips moving as if she was trying to find out what was wrong with me. I turned to see Sara and I could see her eyes widen in mystery, I could see her expression filling with confusion.
"First, I wanted to say that your daughter is safe now, she is alive and safe but she is being transported to the Riverside Mental Hospital..." once I heard that I quickly cut into what he was trying to convey to me.
"W-W-What do you mean she is safe now, where is my daughter and why are you taking her there, oh my God what happened, why is she going there, why, why?" I had no idea I was even repeating myself over and over. I had no idea I was even yelling, I had no idea I was freaking out. I just knew it was a phone that every parent fears the most when their child becomes withdrawn from society, when they begin to act out, when they begin to become defiant. It is a phone call that will put a parent at any halt in their steps and their very lives and often make them stop breathing.
"I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but we caught her trying to jump the overpass on the freeway adjacent from your mobile home park. She actually shimmied up the chain link fence and climbed over and was ready to jump onto the moving traffic of the freeway below."
I remember yelling "WHAT THE FUCK!" quickly followed with "OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD!"
Tears began to fall, my body began to shiver, my hands couldn't hold the phone anymore, I wanted to slump to the floor and just scream. How and why would my daughter want to end her life, why would she even want to contemplate suicide?
As I sit and type this out I am beginning to wonder if I was selfish and only thinking of myself, did I ever really think for one second what Savi was going through or was I more concerned about what my world was now to become?
"Please, try to understand, someone saw her and immediately called 9-11 and we were able to get her to stop but we had to take her into custody. Once she arrived at the police station we began going through her backpack and found a suicide note addressed to you. She wrote that she is very sorry but she hates her life, she hates you, she loves you, she hates her sister Sara but she loves her sister Sara, she hates Felix, she hates her grandparents but loves her grandparents."
He continued to tell me to please go meet her at the Riverside Mental Hospital where they will be admitting her under what they call a "51/50" suicide watch. Because she is a minor they need my signature.