The casket didn’t seem as heavy, though I wondered if coupled by guilt,Sadness and betrayal made it heavier for the coffin bearers to carry.

I wondered at what point the little girl in the casket had decided that she didn’t want to dream anymore. That she just wanted the nightmares to stop. For nights to end and time be still. Just for the ache she felt crawling within her every nerve to stop…for a moment, for eternity. 

I wondered before all that happened, what her happy ever after dreams were like. Were they modest? Run a grocery store at the entrance of the village with a husband that adored her and retire in the evening to the two kids she dotted on? Or were they grand; take the world by storm and make sure every lip knew the name Ashley. At what point were the beauty of these dreams overtaken by the scary dreams that haunted her by night and walked by her by day?

She knew him. They lived together, he was her protector, her supposed shield…but all that changed during that fateful afternoon when he came into her room. She didn’t recognize who this man was, not by the way he ripped apart her clothes and pinned her down. She tried to zone out but the pain was unbearable… this coupled with the fact that she called this man, father.  A big chunk of her died that day, murdered in cold blood by her dad. Left to bleed with a warning that if anything as much as a hushed whisper escaped that room about what despicable act had happened, that would be the end of her.

 She prayed it would stop, that the pain would somehow dissolve and get washed away by the rivers of tears she cried every night but when the tears ended and lulled her to sleep, the nightmares would take over and torment what little chance she had to wipe the pain, she would see him in her dreams, standing over leaving her totally powerless.

And yet when finally her small frame could no longer muffle the silent cries she had carried , she cried on her mother’s lap who but for a moment promised to deliver her from the pain by the silent gesture of sharing in her sorrow and for that moment she had thought everything would be alright… mama knows best, she thought. But when she started to question her on what she had worn or what gestures she might have given, she knew she was wrong. Her pain was her own, her mother had other fears that had nothing to do with the pain of her daughter being abused by the man she called husband.

She had died once, at the hands of her father, she died twice when her mother blamed her for the heinous act. She remained but a shell walking the earth… no sense of purpose not looking forward to a better tomorrow. All she wanted was peace to sleep and never wake up…. For eternity.

  I pray she is finally at peace. Fare thee well Ashley. You deserved better.