Over the last few days, memories and thoughts of Rose filled my mind. Dreams for herself and her children, holding on to hope for one day, but one day never came. She was like an eagle with her foot in a trap. Looking at all she could have but was trapped by the ties that bound her to her old life.
I wonder, as others do, how she could go from living with a home, goals, and hope to a place where she was murdered and left in the backyard for five days?
Rose is not different than other men and women in her shoes. Shoes most of us never know, and many never want to understand.
This child could be any number of children who grew up with unresolved traumatic grief and family who did not know how to help her process her emotions. This person could be someone whose mother, after being removed from the home, either by death, abandonment, or social services. She was left to process her grief, change in her home life and future alone. The home she once knew, the stable life they had, and the love were now gone. Love snatched out of her hands instantly, and her life was turned upside down at this tender age. A parent or guardian who did not know how to cope and a family that directed her with unclear and unhealthy paths.
A life-threatening disease, drug use, abuse, assault, or just unfortunate moments in our life can cause the survivors grief, regret, and uncertainty. Too confused, grief-ridden, or unable to care for the child left behind, they turn to others they trust to take care of their children—people who are ill-equipped to handle this type of grief, loss, and emotional distress.
These children tend to drift from one person to another, one family member to another, until they come of age or attach to an older partner who will take them in. These new older relationships, trauma bonding, give them a sense of security and false love—something they are used to from childhood and something that looks absolute- natural.
They have not learned to have a sense of self, a reality outside abuse, or a life of success. They are children neglected, abused, passed around, and now as adults, they think that life is natural, so they continue the cycle.
Some have babies -teen mothers looking for someone to hold, love, and care for. An extension of themselves that will listen and need them unconditionally. Babies having babies, the sick passing on sickness, the confused trying to find sanity. They are looking for security, strength, and acceptance but are unsure where to look.
These children grow up as gangs, pimps, savors, and homeless targets. They believe the distortions fed as a child, the lies of the world, society’s throwaways, the ones to struggle against all odds if they are going to make something out of their lives.
Trying to get out of this spiderweb they call life, the hand which reaches out from what society calls ‘normal’ is so abnormal and fearful they pull away. Rose was no different.
When I met Rose, she had come to California with my son to pick me up and bring me back home. After eight years of street ministry and time away, I was moving back home to build my career. Packed and ready to go, my sons had arrived to drive me back across the country. I packed everything up and had a few days of work to finish up before we left California.
When I met Rose, she was timid, anxious, fearful, and resembled my son’s last girlfriend. She was smalled framed and almost anorexic looking. I am not sure how much it said about him as the woman he chose. He had a way of picking women who were hurting and needy. Rose was no different than the other women; she was uncomfortable in our world. A world with limits, goals, honesty, communication, and a future without fear.
Rose talked about her daughter, job, and home life. She was scared of what her past was, not sure of her future, and asked about inner healing and sobriety. We discussed changes with honesty and openness. We began to bond in a way I never thought possible. It was like God had said, “this is your daughter.”
My sons and Rose were going to see the sights. There was always a difference in what attractions to see, but somehow they managed to keep themselves entertained as I worked.
As Rose and I got to know each other, talked, and found some common ground, we packed the truck and cleaned the apartment.
We learned a little more about each other and what she wanted from life, for her daughter, and her dreams on the road trip.
Once home, we connected only through my son, but they soon realized they were not suited for each other. She and I had formed a bond right before she found out she was pregnant.