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A Hard Story to Tell

I've been debating within myself on whether or not I should write this story. It's a hard story to share, so bear with me.

In my blog introduction, I promised to write all stories—good and bad. And I feel like so far, I have only written the easy ones to write.

There is a reoccurring nightmare I have. It comes to me every two to three months, when I least expect it. It’s about a child I used to have in my class. Her name was Renee.

In my dream, Renee has come back to the shelter with her family. I see her mother, her four brothers and sisters, but I don’t see her. Her mom tells me that Renee is inside the children’s building, waiting for me. She says she’s ready to talk.

I run inside the building, desperate, looking for her. She’s not on the second floor hallway, where we would usually talk. I look inside the two classrooms upstairs—nothing. I take the elevator downstairs, start screaming her name up and down the hall. But the building is empty. And Renee is not there. I start running in circles again and spend the rest of my night in this way.

In the mornings, I wake up shaken.

It’ll be a year in September since Renee has been gone. Renee had a secret she will not tell anyone about. She was close to telling me, but every time she would come down to it—to the night her father took her to his new girlfriend’s house and they ended up in a room by themselves, his body smelling of alcohol—she was never able to tell me what happened next. She said it was her problem, and no one needed to know. She said no one would understand. She said she was ashamed. She had flashbacks about that night almost every day.

I was never able to help Renee. She has never made it back to us. The memory of her frustration, the way she would scream at me whenever I asked her to do anything in the classroom, the fear that paralyzed her every time she tried to tell her story…they are deeply imbedded in me.

And like her, there are so many children out there. Wounded. Alone. Afraid. Don’t let them pass by you unnoticed. The ones that give you a hard time about everything, the ones who misbehave the most…don’t write them off as “bad kids who need to be taught”. They might be another Renee needing to be heard and loved.


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Comments for A Hard Story to Tell


Name: Kim Carpenter
Time: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Your story made me cry. I have two small children and I can't imagine any child carrying around all that shame and pain. I too have known abuse at the hands of someone I loved. It takes many years to process this kind of pain but healing is possible. Thank you for giving these girls a voice.

Name: Abby
Time: Friday, April 13, 2012

I'll admit that I am guilty of writing off misbehaving children as "bad" or "spoiled", the truth is we never know what might be going on, through my work I've also known about abused children, and it makes my heart hurt like nothing else, leaves me shaky. Unfortunately I am only an interpreter so I can't do anything to help except help get the message across so the person on the other side can truly help out, I'll think of that as my way to help.
I really hope Renee got help, and if not, I hope she finds someone, an angel in her path, to confide in and I really hope she finds peace as well.

Name: Mely
Time: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thank you all for your comments.

Name: Ricardo P. Fojas
Time: Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I have children of my own and they are all grown up and have their own families except one. This means that I have been promoted to the privileged and honored status of "Grandpa' and my truly loving and caring wife of 39 years to "Grandma". This story of Renee is so tragic and so horrific and stories such as this tests my own faith. I have lived through many tragedies myself in my lifetime and I learned firsthand that God works in mysterious ways. I am praying for Renee. Thank you for sharing this difficult to tell story. May God bless you and give you the wisdom, courage, and strength to do God's work.

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