trauma

‘Mom she’s gone, I just know.’ I sat on my stairs with my front door open, in shock.’: How this ‘broken’ mother helps other parents of child loss heal after her own tragedy

“Seeing my sweet baby girl laying in a huge bed, much too big for her, made me fall to my knees. A nurse said to me, ‘Get off the floor, it’s so dirty.’ I was angry at her, I was angry at the hospital chaplain placing his eerie hand on my shoulder with no real comfort. No parent should have to write their child’s eulogy, or decide between a casket or an urn. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.”

‘I heard a cracking sound and a thud as my head hit the window. He threw the car into park. I’d ‘pushed his buttons’ and made him do it. He told me it was my fault.’ Woman recounts how ‘fairy tale’ quickly turned to abusive nightmare

“In slow motion, the scene still unspools in my head. ‘You loved me once,’ I croaked out, looking up at him. We had history. We had a home together. Failure was not an option. I clung to him, my heart believing if I just loved him enough, he’d emerge from the darkness.”

‘He forced me to the gym because he didn’t want me to get fat. I assumed it was normal. I was sure I could change him.’ Survivor’s eye-opening recount of abusive relationship with ‘older, amazing’ man

“He told me how sorry he was. It would never happen again. In the fetal position on the ground, looking up at him, I remember thinking, ‘This is it. This is how I die.’ The police came to my beautiful villa in a fancy part of town. ‘I’m so embarrassed,’ I told the officer. His response? ‘We’re called to this neighborhood more than any other.’”

‘I don’t want to be here! People get bad news in these rooms!’ My son’s leg was rapidly turning black. ‘Your son is the sickest kid in this hospital right now.’ Mom shocked by horrific diagnosis after being told it was a ‘regular bug’

“I don’t remember the drive there. The social worker walked us back past a room with 15 doctors spilling out into the hallway. ‘Jonathin was fine an hour ago. There’s no way he’s dying!’ This is the kind of story you see on the news and then you go on with your life. To say I was in shock is an understatement.”

‘I had to wear a wig on my wedding day. ‘What’s going on?!’ my mom asked. ‘I don’t know,’ I lied. It was my dirty little secret. I was a prisoner of my own body, and I put myself there.’

“I had anxiety about what people would say to my son about my hair. Would he be teased because of me? I just couldn’t do that to him. I bought a wig and started an 18-year game of hide-my-hair. I couldn’t believe what I was doing to myself. Each day, I hoped no one caught me.”

‘I held this dark secret. I remember thinking, ‘What the heck? Are people weird like me, too?’ Cruel kids would ask, ‘What are you doing? Why are you pulling out your hair?’ I’m done hiding.’

“When I was 8 years old, I vividly remember pulling out an eyelash as I sat in my mom’s car in the drive-thru. And you know what? I LIKED the feeling from it. It was oddly satisfying. I kept pulling them out until my eyelashes were bald. Then, my parents began to notice. They couldn’t accept I was doing this to myself.”

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