Picture Mallory sitting in the Main Lounge. She is a large sixteen year old girl in tight garish clothes. Next to her is an over turned couch. She is surrounded by glass from the window she just broke. Her legs are swathed in gauze bandages covering the cuts she just inflicted on them, and there is blood on the carpet. The wail of the fire alarm she pulled is giving voice to her pain. Her face is frozen.
Everything we are doing is for you, Mallory. For you, who was abused by a relative repeatedly over five years. Your mother struggled with her own abuse history and depression, and has made several suicide attempts. She is not able to endure your pain, but she cares about you. She has advocated for you as you have travelled between treatment programs and hospitals.
Because of the transformation we have made at our treatment center, someone is holding your hand. No one is talking to you about consequences. There is compassion and caring in the eyes of the staff who look at you.
When you have left for the hospital, the staff discussion will center on your pain, not that you were difficult or annoying. Your team knows that you read an article in the paper today about your molester. They understand how this would be unbearable. They are shaken and disturbed, and they are feeling with you, not feeling angry at you.
Because of the changes we have made, everyone appreciates how hard this incident was on Mallory’s team, and immediately people rush to comfort her therapist, the people who saw her cut, all those who helped. We are aware of how this difficult work takes its toll on us all as we stay present with Mallory’s sadness.
We know we have work left to do when the policemen says sarcastically to Mallory “well, I guess someone’s angry” and the EMT threatens to drag her to the ambulance. And we are working on it through a grant to train the police force and have regular fun activities shared by the police and the kids. This has made great improvements in our cooperation as agencies- but today wasn’t our best day. Still more to do.
Nothing that happened to you was your fault, Mallory. You are not being manipulative and just wanting attention. You are unbearably unhappy, and you have every right to be. We are honored to be by your side, even when it doesn’t go well, even when you are not cute, even when we are exhausted and far from perfect, even when the system lets all of us down.
When Mallory is in the ambulance ready to go to the ER she asks her special staff member Rebecca if she can have a hug. Mallory is covered in blood and Rebecca hesitates. “Here, I’ll put on my coat” Mallory says. They hug.
We are trying to change the world for you, Mallory.
Loving Kindness Meditation for Self Care
1 year ago