She was a freshman when I was a senior. I knew who she was. I said hi to her when I saw her in the hallways at school. Her brothers and I were all friends. They lived on the court behind ours. Years go by and I read on the internet that she and her young daughter had died. I sent my condolences to the family. I didn’t know how and something inside me kept me from asking about the circumstances. Today I read an article online that detailed the incident and I felt sick to my stomach. She was shot by police after refusing to put down a knife that she was using to repeatedly stab her four year old daughter. Now at first, I thought, “Oh my God! How could she?” but then I read on. She had been suffering from emotional and financial distress, probably not in that order. She’d lost her job and hadn’t been able to afford to pay her rent for 5 months or more. The water had been shut off for failure to pay the bill. Apparently the state had been threatening to take her children. No one knows what they will do in such a situation. I mean, it’s easy to say, “I know I would never” but how do you know? I would HOPE that I would never feel such hopelessness and fear as to take the lives of my children. I have to hope that my belief that God controls all would get me through.

I have been in some seriously dire situations financially. I lost a house to foreclosure. I had wages garnished for 6 weeks once (not just some…the entire 6 weeks of pay…$zero income.) And were it not for WIC and the kindness of friends and our ability to eat canned beans and bread, we may not have made it. And it was hard, but we did it. A lot of you know that we returned to Texas from Egypt last year to make a go of it there. After four months, I packed the kids back up and came back to Egypt. We just couldn’t do it. We applied for food stamps and I was training to go back to work as an interpreter. My husband was working and applying all over the city for more work. But no one was hiring (except illegals) and we didn’t have enough money to pay rent. When we finally decided that I was going to move with the children back to Egypt, my mom and sister and various extended relatives all had their opinions and emotions over the issue. But you see, none of those who were angry had been in a desperate place or lost a  home or had stared the inability to feed their kids in the face before. And we listened and tried to explain but they didn’t “get it.” And we left anyway, with a lot of hurt and angry people in our wake. Some blamed me. Most blamed my husband and assumed that he “sent me away.” (Anyone who truly knows me, KNOWS that I am rarely forced to do anything against my will.) Whatever their opinions we had to do what was right for us and our situation. No regrets.

I look at the situation of my former school mate and I wonder what she would have done if she’d had the option we did. If she was able to take “the out” that we were, would she be alive today. God knows. I do know that through my grief for her surviving child and brothers that I again see a lesson reiterated. Judge not that you be not judged. We cannot judge her actions. God knows her heart and the desperate place that she was in. I pray God forgive her her sins and grant her His mercy. 

One thought on “Hopelessness

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