Dear five, you cannot continue. Crawl back in your closet, under your blanket, and stay there forever. Keep your mouth shut.

I can hardly grasp air, I want to vomit everywhere.

Dear five, you are safe, let’s trust and walk together. Crawl into the closet, lean in to safety and love, and stay there as long as you need. Keep talking.

This journey is painful, harrowing, and grief-laden. But in between the terrible are little bits of freedom. Just don’t let me go.

Five needs your arms around her back, your hand on her head, pulling her in so tight, reminding her body begins and ends. Reminding her she is ok to touch. She is not unworthy of love from a mother. Reminding her to hold on, and feel every cell shaking, crying, tensing—she is so safe and protected, she can let every little piece of trauma out.

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