For the explanation of my current series, go to the first installment:

Out of Control:
A Christian Parent’s Victorious Struggle with Child Abuse

A Memoir by Kathy Collard Miller

Chapter 18

November 15th

Mom and I relaxed on my living room couch planning Thanksgiving dinner, only a week away. Darcy handed me her doll to dress and then brought in a game to play. I realized she didn’t want to be left out. 

“Darcy, would you like us to play ball with you?” I knew we could talk even as we played.

“Grandma and I will roll the ball on the carpet and you can jump over it, okay?”

Darcy’s eyes brightened in delight and she squealed with joy each time she jumped over the rolling ball.

“Now, what will we serve for dessert?” my mom asked.

“Of course, pumpkin pie and …” Then I gasped in horror as Darcy jumped on top of the ball. Her feet flew out from beneath her and with a sickening thud, the back of her head slammed down onto the carpet.

I froze as mom reached over and cradled Darcy’s rigid body in her arms. A moment later, Darcy’s body fell limp and her head dangled over my mom’s arm.

I jumped to my feet. “I’m going to call the paramedics.” 

I ran to the phone but heard my mom shout, “She’s conscious again.”

I returned and gathered Darcy into my arms. “Honey, how do you feel?”

Her eyes tried to focus on me. “My head hurts. I want to go to sleep.”

I tried to smile realizing that was the only time she ever requested going to bed. But it wasn’t funny. I knew it was a sign of concussion. Within fifteen minutes, Darcy and I arrived at the emergency room and I explained what happened. My mom stayed with Mark and promised she would call Larry at work to tell him to meet me. 

The nurse escorted me holding Darcy to a bed surrounded by curtains. The antiseptic smells made my stomach even more queasy.

Dr. Monning walked into our cubicle and introduced himself. He explained they would take a skull x-ray. A few minutes later, a technician arrived and gently lifted Darcy onto a small rolling bed and wheeled her away. 

It seemed like hours later when they returned. Darcy was still asleep and looked so little in the big bed. Her peaceful face appeared angelic and innocent.

“Oh, Darcy,” I murmured, “I hope you’re going to be all right.” I caught myself. “No, that’s not true. I don’t want you to be all right. I wonder if I would really be that sad if you died. Sometimes I think I hate you. I long to be freed of the responsibilities and burdens of being a mother.” I stopped. I’m not supposed to feel this way, I rebuked myself. But I knew I couldn’t hold these feelings in any longer. I let my thoughts continue.

I wanted a child so much, Darcy. We tried for three years before you were conceived, and now I wonder whether I want you around at all. You demand so much from me. Sometimes I want to be free.

I felt ashamed, but at the same time, as if a heavy burden were being lifted off my heart. I was finally being honest with myself. Tears welled in my eyes.

Darcy, I haven’t hurt you for a long time and I’m not going to again… but I still resent you. (Tweet that!) You seem to want more from me than I am able to give. I’m trying to trust God for the future but I wonder if I’ve hurt you permanently, psychologically. I read somewhere that children who have been abused usually grow up to abuse their own children.

Oh, Heavenly Father, I don’t want that to happen. Please protect Darcy. Please keep her safe from such a future. You know I never wanted to hurt her. You know I’m sorry. Please forgive me and heal Darcy’s inner wounds.

I stared at my little girl. Pulling a tissue out of my purse, I wiped my cheeks and blew my nose.

“Kathy, how is she doing?”

Larry’s voice startled me. I stood up and reached for his hand. “The doctor hasn’t said anything yet. They just took an x-ray. I’m so glad you’re here.”

Soon Dr. Monning joined us and explained, “She does have a concussion but she’ll be fine. There’s no damage. Just keep an eye on her extra for twenty-four hours. Wake her up through the night every four hours or so. Call your doctor if you notice anything wrong.”

The next day, Darcy played as hard as ever. I watched her and was particularly aware of her bright smile and loving vivaciousness. I would have missed her if she were gone. Thank you Lord, for our delightful daughter who brings joy into our family. I do love her. 

That night as I tucked her into bed, I stroked her bangs back from her forehead. Love overwhelmed me and I wanted to cry in relief.

Darcy, I do love you. I didn’t think I did, but the Lord has shown me how much I really do. It still hurts me to think of how I used to hurt you, but I’m going to trust the Lord to heal all of us. In the meantime, I know he has forgiven me.

I kissed her forehead. “Good night, Dars. Sleep tight.” I walked to the door and turned off the light.

“Mommy, I love you,” Darcy called out. 

I turned to face her in the dark. “Oh, Darcy, I love you very much.” I was so glad I could say that and mean it. “Good night honey. You are God’s special gift.”