From the moment Rose first stood on her chubby little legs and took her first wobbly steps Jackie Tyler had been living in fear. She also lived in pride and joy and so much love it filled her entire being, but fear was ever present and only grew as Rose grew. No one had told Jackie how it would be, being a mother. Oh, people had plenty to say about her getting herself pregnant so young, but nothing of the strength it would take.
Fear. Pain. Anger. Frustration. Doubt. Guilt. Exhaustion.
Love. Happiness. Sacrifice. Tears. Smiles. Giggles. Cuddles.
Pete died and even though he didn’t leave her because he wanted to, he was still gone.
It was terrifying. She was alone. She wanted to lie in bed and cry and sleep and scream and then she didn’t have emotions anymore. She felt cold, numb.
The baby was crying. She had no choice. She got up. She stayed up. She went to work.
She didn’t lay back down. She held her daughter in her arms and they cried together. Rose didn’t sleep through the night until she was two, so Jackie piled on the concealer and drank tea and coffee and cried in the loo when she got those rare moments alone. They cuddled and giggled and were each other’s world. It was so hard to do on her own. She was so tired. She was so blessed.
And the years went by. Rose grew up. Jackie always tried her best, but sometimes she made mistakes.
Secrets. Arguments. Lies. Fear. Pain. That damn Jimmy Stone.
Then Rose came home. Hope. Pride.
Mickey was always a sweet boy, but that didn’t stop her from accusing him of murdering her baby girl.
Despair. Darkness. Pain. It hurt to breathe. It hurt so much.
Rose. Her child. She felt like she’d had her very heart and soul torn from her chest and arms and legs stuck to it and she had to watch it run off. That’s what being a mother felt like. Watching her heart run away from her.
Months had come and gone. No word.
Limbo. Purgatory. Waiting. Despair. Hope. Exhaustion. She didn’t sleep anymore.
She paced the floor. She screamed and cried. She went to the hospitals. She went to the morgues. She harassed the Police. She passed out fliers. She tracked the papers for stories of other missing girls. She looked for anything that seemed familiar. She walked the streets begging strangers for information.
Jackie Tyler learned more than she ever wanted to know about human trafficking and the darker side of humanity.
She envied those mothers who at least had a body to bury. She had nothing. Every time her phone rang, every knock at her door filled her with a nauseating combination of hope and dread. Good news or bad news would be better than no news.
Months continued to pass. She didn’t sleep. She didn’t stop. Her child may not be there, but she was still a mother. Mother’s never stop. Mother’s didn’t get breaks or time off. It was a lesson she had learned well through the years raising her child. It was so hard. She was so tired. The pain was crushing. Jackie Tyler didn’t give up.