Look at you. I forgot how small you were. Look how wide your smile is, how bright the sparkle in your eye, how carefree your laugh. I forgot these things. I forgot how young you once were.
First, please know, for what happened, there was nothing more you could have done. There was nothing more you could have done. I wish you would believe me when I tell you that. I wish that you could believe that and not spend the next ten years thinking that you failed, that you need forgiveness.
I wish you would believe that you couldn’t stop mum from being hit. I wish that you would believe that you couldn’t have stopped your step-dad from drinking. I wish that you didn’t believe all those things that he said about you. I wish that you didn’t have to stand in between them those times you did. I wish you didn’t believe it was your fault. You were so young.
I wish that you believe that you couldn’t have stopped your brother running away. I wish you believed that you couldn’t have stopped dad from leaving. I wish you believed you couldn’t have stopped him from dying. I wish you believed these things.
I wish I could shelter you from the heartache. I wish I could save you from the feelings of anger and shame. I wish you were not condemned to still be shackled to your past so many years later. I wish I could give you the strength to trust her.
But I cannot do these things little one. I cannot reach back and save you from what is going to happen, from what you are going to do to yourself.
But even if I could, should I?
These events and their effects will shape you. These events will fuel you. They will push you into Medicine. They will push you to try and help people. They will push you to seek out every bit of evil that feels familiar and fight it. You will do good things.
But it will not come without cost.
You will not take care of yourself. You will hurt people. You will not feel fulfilled. You will not feel happy. You will not share this with her. You will not trust her. You will let this come between you. You will run. You will feel alone, perpetually trying to make amends for what you see as your defining failing and shame. You will bury this.
I am sorry little one, it is too late for you. The ink is dry.
But it is not for me.
I am trying little one. I am trying to keep our dreams alive. I am trying to return our future to what it was supposed to be. I am trying to protect our hope.
I hope that you would be proud of me. And of what I have done for us.