“Breathe, Serena! I’m right here. I want you to ask Godmother what you just asked me, and let yourself hear the truth.”

            I’m feeling overwhelmed. My mind is racing with screams that it’s a lie, but over the din, I hear Godmother say, “We had to let you know the truth gently. Your parents used different names when talking to Jennifer, for the sole purpose of creating multiple personalities. You wanted to believe it was only Jack, but that’s not the truth. Breathe, and let yourself feel the truth. It’s how you will help the children who are listening.”

            I’m stunned. “This can’t be true!”

            “Serena, do you want to help you or hurt you? You get to decide,” Norma says. Raising her voice, she continues. “You don’t like the truth, and that keeps you in pretend. Will you breathe with me? It’s the only way we can help these children.”

            After a few minutes of focused breathing, I sadly say, “It’s true, isn’t it?”

            “Yes. It takes courage to stay and look at how your life was. I’m in awe of how brave you are.” Taking my hand, she squeezes it gently. “Now, let’s see where Godmother wants to go with this.”

             “See what Jennifer does as Lois asks if she is her Lucy Belle. Watch how creative she was in staying alive,” Godmother suggests. “Remember, she’s hungry and cold. She’s been sitting in wet diapers with her bottom burning for hours. On top of that, being neglected has traumatized her deeply.”

            Closing my eyes, I watch Jennifer nod yes to Lois’s question, and instantly another child is born. Lucy Belle looks up into Lois’s smiling face, holds up her arms, and says, “Mama.” Gone are the feelings of hunger, pain, and despair, and instead, a new child is born, waiting to be imprinted. As the truth of this realization hits me, I shudder, consumed by a sadness that is inexplicable.

            “Breathe, Serena. Help these children come home. You cannot afford to keep this pain. Bring it home.”

            “I am, but it hurts!”

            “I know. I’m not minimizing that, but breathe so it can keep moving. I’m here.”

            Breathing and crying, I wrap my arms around my waist, hoping this will give me some comfort. The level of brutality Jennifer lived through is unfathomable. As I continue breathing, the tears finally begin to subside. 

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