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What You Didn't See

When I was 5 years old
My grandfather died
He was my favorite person
I wanted to run and hide

Then my parents got divorced
1988 was the year
I didn't understand it
That was the first time I felt fear

A couple years then passed
They both decided to re-marry
I then had 2 step-parents
And that was kinda scary

It seemed we all were happy
After everything settled down
I really didn't want to
But we moved out of town

I started a new school
And adjusted right away
I made lots of friends
And my fear began to fade

Then one Wednesday morning
On a cold day in November
Tragedy struck my school
A day I'll always remember

He walked into my school
And shot 2 teachers and my friend
It changed our lives forever
The fear creeped in again

At first I was in shock
Just trying to get by
The next thing I knew
I was getting high

I found relief for a moment
I thought I'd found the answer
Then we got the news
My baby brother had brain cancer

I didn't know what to do
I just broke down and cried
In the Chapel of the hospital
Screaming at God, 'Why? ! '

'God, isn't it enough
To lose my best friend
For my parents to split up
When will it ever end? ! '

So I became very angry
I just wanted to be numb
I didn't want to hurt anymore
I threw my hands up and said, 'I'm done! '

My brother went through treatment
And did really well
He went into remission
But my life was going to hell

I was going to be a mom
So I finally got clean
I thought I was done forever
But that was just a dream

Soon after I had my son
The darkness fell again
The doctors prescribed me pills
And they became my best friend

It just got worse and worse
I became empty inside
Screaming, 'God, where are you? ! '
And still got no reply

Then one day I looked at my son
And cried and hung my head
I knew at that moment
One day he'd find me dead

So, I reached over to the table
And picked up my phone
I finally realized
I couldn't do it on my own

So I went to get help
And get my life back on track
Then we found out
My brother's cancer was back

We all were really shocked
It hurt me to my core
But I stayed determined
To not get high anymore

2 years and 2 months later
And God just spoke to me
He said, 'Listen to Me, child
This is what you didn't see'

'I know that it hurt you
When your father left your mother
But had that not happened
You wouldn't have your little brother'

'And when the school shooting happened
I was holding your hand
I had My reasons for allowing it
But some things you just can't understand'

'And your brother's fight with cancer
I know has caused you great pain
But I need soldiers like him
To bring Glory to My Name'

'And I know it has been hard on you
Battling addiction
But I allowed you that battle
To help others with that affliction'

'Child, I know you've been through a lot
But what you didn't see
Is all the pain and every battle
Led you straight to Me'

Submitted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Edited: Thursday, October 24, 2013


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I am a 33 year old single mom, nurse, & recovering addict. I have been clean 2 years & 2 months. My parents divorced when I was 7. When I was 15, I was a school shooting survivor, but I saw my best friend get shot & killed at school. Then, my little brother was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005. He went into remission & it came back the year I went to rehab. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy in Texas. We live in Alabama. It has been a tough road, but now I see why I had to go through it all. My goal is to inspire & spread hope.

Comments about this poem (What You Didn't See by April Grisham )

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  • Lily Mccambridge (10/15/2013 1:59:00 PM)

    I'm a 45 year old nurse, used to drink a lot and I'm Bipolar. My parents also divorced when I was 7, and my stepbrother sexually abused me many times. I think you are amazing for making it through what you have. You are a hero to me. Thank you for sharing that with us.

    Lily

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