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.