- When I met her, she was living in a small, dark apartment
with her two children. I came to her as a Caseworker but I left as her
- Marie's children had recently been returned to her after
spending two years in Foster Care. The darkness of those days still hung
over her head. There was never enough money, though she was a good worker.
Denzil was a sickly child who needed constant medical attention. His father
gracefully bowed out of the family portrait leaving Marie to make lengthy,
expensive trips to a hospital in New York City with a screaming, frightened
boy. Her boss, though stating he understood, assured her that he felt terrible
about having to "let her go. "
- Childhood ghosts conspired to turn Marie's frustration
into anger. Denzil's little face resembled his abusive, cold-hearted father.
Her anger found an outlet.
- The charge was "neglect" ...the consequence
was "removal." Social Services put the children in Foster Care
while the mother endeavored to put her life together.
- I did not know Marie then. I wish I had.
- I met her shortly after her children were returned. Being
reunited with her children was a joy that lit up her face.
- She told me "See how fat I am getting. That's because
I am so happy to have them back"
- The children welcomed me into their home. My white skin
was no obstacle for them. They had not as yet learned the consequences
of color Sendy would sit on my lap and tell me how much she loved me. She
didn't touch my heart.she exploded it.
- As part of the Social Service intervention, Marie was
in counseling and taking a class in parenting. Despite the poor public
transportation, she always found ways to navigate the county maze. She
loved the parent groups and, with their help, developed ways to cope with
- It was almost Christmas and Marie was certain that this
would be the best holiday ever. After the two year separation, she was
back with her children and had found a job. The apartment was small and
dark, but to Marie, it was paradise.
- One evening, while Marie was bathing her 6 year old son,
he began to share what had happened in Foster Care. He told his mother
what the foster mother's son had done to himhow he had hurt him. Marie
reached onto the sink to keep from fainting. The words were knives.slicing
- Denzil's wounds had now become his mother's; the pain
that did not go away. Both Denzil and Sendy had been sexually abused over
and over again, by a fourteen year old boy.
- "Sendy was only two years old at the time,"
Marie cried to me. "Where was the foster mother? Why had Social Services
snatched the children from my loving arms to put them in harms way?"
Her head was reeling. There were no answers to the questions.
- The Detective bought Marie a Christmas tree and I got
her ornaments for it. A volunteer donated seven bags of food for her holiday
dinner. Marie uttered words of thanks yet the words were empty. Her heart
had been broken.
- It's nearly 2005, and soon everyone will be yelling "Happy
New Year." Streamers will be strewn over the streets. Staggering drunk
party goers will crowd into Times Square with hats and horns of merry hysteria
and days of Auld Lang Syne.
- In a small dark apartment, a woman sits with her two
small children. The circle of tears never leaves her eyes.
- Tell Me There's A Heaven
- By Chris Rea
- The little girl she said to me
- What are these things that I can see
- Each night when I come home from school
- And mama calls me in for tea
- Oh every night a baby dies
- And every night a mama cries
- What makes those men do what they do
- To make that person black and blue
- Grandpa says they're happy now
- They sit with God in paradise
- With angels' wings and still somehow
- It makes me feel like ice
- Tell me there's a heaven
- Tell me that it's true
- Tell me there's a reason
- Why I'm seeing what I do
- Tell me there's a heaven
- Where all those people go
- Tell me they're all happy now
- Papa tell me that it's so
- So do I tell her that it's true
- That there's a place for me and you
- Where hungry children smile and say
- We wouldn't have no other way
- That every painful crack of bones
- Is a step along the way
- Every wrong done is a game plan
- To that great and joyful day
- And I'm looking at the father and the son
- And I'm looking at the mother and the daughter
- And I'm watching them in tears of pain
- And I'm watching them suffer
- Don't tell that little girl
- Tell me.......................
- Copyright 2004 Judy Andreas