The topic du jour seems to have moved on to the Confederate Flag, the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, and whatever else we’re supposed to be angry about this week.

But I haven’t had much else to be angry about since June 18th. My whole world stopped spinning when I heard about what happened in Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church. I can’t stop being angry. I don’t think any of us should ever stop.

One person has been on my mind over and over again. I don’t even know her name. She is only mentioned as Tywanza Sanders’ niece. She and Tywanza’s mother played dead to escape the shooter. Her uncle was only 26 years old. She is only 5.

I wanted to write something about the tragedy. I just couldn’t find any words. Even now, I’m crying again. My husband asked me this morning, “What would you say to her, if you could?”

So, here it is:

 (Photo credit BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)


My Darling Girl,

There is a lot happening now that is difficult to understand. I’m sure that many people have spoken to you and held you and wanted only to take away the horrible thing that happened. If I could, I would take all the pain of those memories and these days after and the days to come upon myself. And baby, I hope you know that I mean it.

People may say that I have no right to tell you that I understand anything you’re feeling. They are right. I don’t know what is going on in your mind and your heart. I don’t know the things that are growing there. I only know what it is like to be a little girl who has had so much taken from her. I know what it is like to feel like nothing will ever be the same again. I know what it is like to live a life that will never be the same again. I know what it is like to nearly die. I know what it is like to be scared. So scared.

I know what it looks like to see the face of the person who hurt you every day; when you close your eyes or when the room gets too dark.

I know what it is like to wonder when you will wake up in your bed with your warm blankets and your teddy and realize it was just a bad dream. I know the horror of waking up to realize it wasn’t a nightmare.

I am so sorry.

People will forget, but you won’t. You will never forget. But it doesn’t have to destroy you. It doesn’t have to keep you afraid. It doesn’t mean that no one can love you because you feel like there are scary things inside you. It doesn’t mean you have to live the rest of your life scared that it will happen again.

When I am afraid, my husband takes words from a book that he has changed a little bit. He’ll say,

“You is brave. You is strong. You is important.”

Baby, you is brave, you is strong, and you is important.

Eventually, life will get less scary. But you are always allowed to cry. You are always allowed to say you’re scared. You are always allowed to ask for help. You are always allowed to crawl up in the lap of someone who makes you feel safe and hold on tight to their neck.

The word in the name of your church, Emanuel, it means “GOD with us”. I know that there will be people who say so or that one day you may feel it in your own heart that GOD abandoned you that day. But He didn’t. He loves you. He wants to take this from you too.

For all the hate that I’ve seen and known, I also have seen and I know this: GOD’s love always prevails. GOD always wins. Baby, He always has you. He is always with you.

I love you so much. I love you so so much.




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Bible, Charleston, courage, Faith, God, Grace, healing, hope, Jesus, PTSD, Religion and Spirituality, South Carolina, suffering, Trauma