Our Daughter Writes . . . and Weeps

That Man That I Love Most and I have a daughter,  Rachel, who is a trauma therapist with a firm in Washington, DC.  Her work is mostly with the black population, and with the poor.  By virtue of her training, (and even her job description) what she sees every day breaks my heart.  (Which is a good reason for the practice she has of speaking in generalities and not telling me much about anything!)

A few months ago, before the present crisis, she wrote me one morning.  I was surprised to see an email from her, because she usually calls.  But on this morning, she had something specifically for me:

Hey Momma- 

I wrote this today because I’ve had a lot of client’s come through here talking about their fear and their anxiety around having young, black sons. You usually seem to like to read the stuff I write, so I thought I’d send it to you. 

There’s no expectation for you to read it or like it or even think it’s remotely good. I just wanted to share it with someone. 

There was an attachment – and I opened it and read-

Unknown Suffering

I cannot understand.

My white skin cannot hide

I sit in silence.

The tears flow as a mother cries

“I prayed for girls-

Girls don’t scare police”

Her voice is shaking

Tears are streaming from her eyes

She is confessing

She is afraid

“What if my sons…”

“’The talk’ is obsolete”

Those sworn to protect produce fear

The men at the corner store

The boys who think they’re men.

The drive-by shootings

Her voice is small from crying

She whispers, “My boys…”

I listen

I contextualize

I put her struggle

Into the context of my whiteness

I hear her-

And I think of my three nephews

I think of their black skin
I think of their futures

I think of statistics

Telling me they aren’t going to make it.

Their lives matter-

But do their dreams?

Her fear has encompassed me

I am not crying for her-

I am crying with her

And then I realize…

What do dreams matter,

If lives are disposed?

What do dreams matter,

If life is unprotected?

What if the dream is simply life?

Her thoughts continue to race

The “what ifs” bombard her

Her tears continue to flow steadily

Her words haunt me:

“I prayed for girls…”


And here are the “three nephews” that she was talking about.

(Aren’t they simply gorgeous?)


Frankie (5)                                    Liam (6)                                                       Si (7)

Getting ready to start back to school, and looking so cool!


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2 responses to “Our Daughter Writes . . . and Weeps

  1. In tears here…God bless Rachel, and may He have mercy on all our black-skinned sons and nephews, and may He hear the prayers of their moms and aunts and grandmas.

    • Thank you, Dorcas. There are no easy answers, and to know how God wants me to live, how I can be Jesus to the people in my life who I rub shoulders with every day, and keep my life free from bitterness over the people over whom I have no control — to me, this is my calling.

      I come from two families who are as diverse as they can be — and opinionated and passionate. Today I sent them a short letter on the family groups e-mail, and also sent the picture that I shared above. I ended the letter with this paragraph:
      To be honest, this Grammy has almost given up on “getting it right” politically or socially. I’m just going to love the people who God puts in my way, and believe that He made them the way they are for a purpose. I don’t know if I’ll get it right — because in another ten years, Frankie, Liam and Si (Left to right above) are probably going to tell me that I am still not right in what I say or how I say it. But it is my prayer that they will never wonder if their Grammy loved them nor remember a time when how they looked caused me to turn away my head or close them off from being held -not only close to my heart, but in it.

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