I clamped down very hard to survive the events that followed as result of my drug abuse and suicide attempt. Survival became paramount. My child was so shaken up by what happened that she was afraid I would leave her.

So I made her two promises.

i promised that i would never leave her. No matter how hard it got, I would be there for her.

i also promised to always answer truthfully and completely no matter how much it hurt me to do so.

I kept my promises.

I wanted to give her a symbol of my promise, so I made what I called the “I love you” afghan. Granny squares in a rainbow pattern. She watched me make it, fascinated by the process. We rebuilt our relationship and trust. She would hug the squares as they were finished.

As the squares were assembled, Sovay stopped feeling so terribly worried and nervous.

I made the afghan large enough to cover her bed and drape down toward the floor. The first night that she slept under it, I also handed her my favorite teddy bear, Nudgins No-Tail. Her smile was beatific as she snuggled down beneath the afghan with the bear in her arms and I told her stories until she fell asleep.

Sovay reinforced my growing rejection of her father’s assertions that I was expendable.

My husband informed me the first day I was out of the hospital that I was no longer a member of the family, but only there on his suffrage.

I felt distanced from myself at first, unable to deal with a lot of stress, and taking turtle steps forward out of sheer tenacity.

While I was in the hospital, H’s wealthy father got him an attorney. Within an hour of my return home, they whisked me down to the courthouse and forced me to sign a paper that, I was told, gave H full custody of Sovay. I was still too dazed and out of it to know what was in it. As soon as we were out of the courthouse, H took my copy of the papers out of my hands and I never saw them again.

From that day forward, my daughter became a hostage. I did what i was told or I would never see her again. I could leave, but I could not take her with me if I did so.

As I made the afghan, I knew just how trapped and cornered I was. The shadow of those papers would hang over me for five years.

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