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There Is No Name For This
There is no name for this. There are no words either. I’ve stared at a blank page for an hour, unable to fill it. Every letter, every word—meaningless. It’s like the gift God gave me has disappeared; vanished from beneath my fingers so now they close on thin air. I tried to tell a story, but for the first time in my life, I don’t want to. For the first time in my life, there is nothing there. I’m a storyteller; telling stories is what I do. So why is the page still blank?
At least now there are words. Empty words, but words all the same.
Right where my heart is supposed to be, there is nothing. Because a heart, once it is broken, is not a heart anymore. I promised myself that I would turn this pain into something useful; something someone could profit from, because all I have reaped is a broken heart. I could have filled this page with one word, over and over again, and that would have been enough for me.
Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne Anne
Her name means everything to me, because it calls her to mind. But for you...you want the whole story, don’t you? You’re asking yourself why my heart is broken...
So I’ll tell you, before my tears drip down onto the computer and it breaks too.
There is no name for this pain. There are words on a screen, staring out at me like the eyes of death as the world crashes down at my feet, broken and stepped on by some giant. The death of my dreams. Was it God? Did He crush my world; my dreams? The feeling fills me that the past year has been thrown back in my face and that everything; all the time, dreams, love, and money, that I spent trying to make sure her life was as it should be, are spat upon as if they were nothing.
I gave everything He asked. He told me to help people, and I looked for almost two years to find a way to do it. When I did, I spent hours in an office, scanning photos and pages, typing lists, doing odd jobs, just so that I could help the people who are helping other people and do my part, as He asked me. He showed me her picture, just by chance, and told me to love her and care for her...and I did. I gave everything He asked for and gave my best to that little girl. I loved her like she was mine, just like He wanted me to. But now he’s snatched her away and I will never know what became of her...my little girl. My daughter. She is mine, isn’t she? That was what I thought. But she wasn’t. If she had been, they wouldn’t have been able to take her from me.
He told me to love her and care for her as if she was mine, and I did, but I didn’t do enough. Because now she’s gone. Her family member who she is too little to know has appeared and carried her away. No one knows where to find her. I don’t know where to find her. Someone has stolen my daughter, but in this world, I have no claim to her. I’m halfway across the world, unrelated to her, and just a sixteen year old girl. I sent money and love and prayers, that was all...I have no claim. She is not mine. It makes me wonder “what kind of world is this when a mother has no claim to her daughter?”
So, was it you, God, who tore my dreams from the air and threw them to the ground? Did you step on them and spit on them, crushing them as if they were nothing? Just the love of one girl for a child that you asked for. You asked me to do this. So why did you change your mind?
“Can you take this other child?” the sisters ask. “Can you help her in the stead of your little girl?”
The rebellious part of me wants to say no. “No! Only my daughter will do!” But then I remember that I want to be a missionary—a mother to all those children. And this little girl is so small and sweet and beautiful. God is asking me to love this little girl like I loved the last one. But this time I am more wary.
“Will you take this little girl too? Will you leave me here to cry like my heart is broken all over again?”
But I love this little girl too. My heart—whatever is left of it—won’t let me pass her by. I cannot stand to see her hungry and poor...my heart will give me no peace until I know that she is cared for and loved, just like Anne was. But she doesn’t fill the empty spot in my heart...or maybe the empty spot is where my heart used to be.
My heart is broken. I thought people were exaggerating when they said their heart was broken, but now I see that they were telling the truth. It hurts. It’s as painful as having your heart ripped from your breast...or your child from your arms. But I am a sixteen-year-old girl, and Anne was only two, half the world apart. In the eyes of the world, that is nothing.
But my heart is broken. I’m a mother without a child. I love her, and now she’s gone. And I will never know what became of her.
“But no,” the world says. “She wasn’t yours. You aren’t a mother. Just a silly little girl who is over dramatic.”
But I loved her so much. And I still do. Where is my daughter?
There is no name for this pain.
I look in the mirror at my face, red and raw from tears, eyes red and lashes wet with salty drops that drip down my face to land on my lips, tasting bitterly of my pain. This girl standing in the mirror is not me. Where is the laughter? The smile on her lips? I don’t like this new girl. I don’t like having a broken heart; not being able to stop crying, unable to keep food down, body heaving and shaking, head and heart throbbing to the same pulsing beat.
Anne. Anne. Anne. Anne. Over and over again in my head until it is coming out of my mouth, sobbed in the silent air while the crucifix is mounted on the wall, silently watching me with no explanation as to why my little girl is suddenly gone.
This is pathetic. I hate myself for it. I am always strong. I do not cry like this. But now I am, so this person in the mirror must not be me. I despise the tears and the pain. I should be happy for her. The best place for a child is with her family. But I wonder; is she hungry? Does she have clothes? Is she loved and cared for?
And I weep, because she is no longer mine. I want my daughter. My little girl. I can’t even voice the pain. I don’t know how to describe the sense of utter loss. There is no name for this.