August 26, 2009

The First Time

It is 3:58 am on a Sunday morning when I get my first call from the ER. With a name on a piece of paper, I drive.

The road is dark, and there is no sign of summer's warmth. I feel nervous, but determined. I turn off the music and I pray.

Give me strength and intuition. Let me help. Please keep her safe, and help her remember her value. Guide me with instinct to know how to be the best support

I walk through the ER alone, reading numbers. Her room is dark, and when I enter, she is sleeping. She looks small in this one size bed, and I don't want to wake her.

She doesn't know who I am or why I've come, but she tells me she is heartsick. I know she feels helpless, betrayed, and afraid. I cringe inside as I hear the hardest though - self blame, stupidity, I should have known.

I believe her when she says she will never call the police again, and it makes me want to cry out with reason and anguish and compassion.

I leave her with information, a phone number, and hopefully some glimmer of support and understanding. It's hard to tell, but I think I've made a difference, even if it was very, very small.

As I approach my car in the cool morning air, 45 minutes have passed. I suddenly realize that my body is fighting between bursting into tears and vomiting. In the end, I do neither and drive home in silence. Her words echo, and now it is I who feels heartsick.

As I drive home, I wonder how I will be able to sleep again. Clouds are becoming visible as the sun's glow precedes it on the horizon. A new day is dawning, and I thank God for all of my blessings.


Equidae said...

wow! I got no other words to say

C.J. Koster said...

Wow, thanks for sharing that. Best wishes.

f8hasit said...

Powerful words. I don't know the whole story...but your words made me, well, sad. And hopeful.
Thanks for your post.

LceeL said...

Sometimes being supportive and 'saying the right things' is just as hard on the 'supporter' as it is on the one being supported. Not that the experience is the same - but the difficulty of dealing with it is shared. And it's hard. Bless you, sweetheart.

Kori said...

All you can do, sweet brave Rachael, is exactly what you are doing. and it will semm like it isn't enough, and maybe it won't be-but it's your gift and that's what it is there for and I have not one single doubt that you are going to make a huge difference in people's lives. No doubt at all. I am sending up major prayers for strngth for you, and gratitude that there are people like you in my life.

Kat said...

I had not realized that when you did your training that you would be getting middle of the night calls. I guess I just pictured it as on the phone counseling.

Even though she says she is not going to call the police again. Somewhere in there...she knows that people care. Even people she does not know.

Dumblond said...

Oh wow. I
Kudos to you for taking on such a big responsibility. When people talk about volunteering, they usually mean baking pies for the church bake sale or ehlping with their kids' fundraiser...You are the uber-volunteer.

Mighty M said...

You are wonderful for doing your best and giving it your all - you must be a very strong woman!

Mimi said...

Such a huge issue that you are tackling.

Mom said...

Motherly wisdom: What I have figured out after all of these years of trying to help people is that all we can really do is plant seeds- seeds of ideas that will hopefully grow into a realization that there is another way to do things. Seeds that will hopefully grow into the courage it requires to make real changes. The seed that you are planting is that there is something out there in the world besides abuse and heartache. There is kindness and caring and that there is at least one person who is willing to go out in the middle of the night to be there, for no other reason than that somebody needs to be care for. You may be the person's first experience of that. Now she knows it exists. That is profound. It's really hard to process at first and it never gets fun, but it will get easier. I love you and I'm really super proud of you.