The Day Maggie Talked

January 18, 2014

News and Stories

We’re going to begin by telling you the end of Maggie’s story because, very simply, for Maggie the end is just the beginning.

The day Maggie graduated from our therapeutic preschool, she was talking and laughing. She could finally tell us where she hurt, and why. She could tell us she needed a hug. She carried a bear in one hand, her dark eyes were dancing, and she ran straight into the welcoming arms of her great aunt. This was the end of her time with us, but it was a wonderful beginning for Maggie.

You see, for days and months Maggie’s therapist said a silent prayer as she entered FRC each morning: Let Maggie talk today….please…. Let today be the day Maggie talks!

Maggie had been abused repeatedly, beginning when she was two years old. Her mother moved from place to place, living with one man after another, and each had had his way with Maggie. When she arrived at our preschool, her body was lacerated and bruised and she had stopped talking. Why talk when no one is listening?

Our therapists often use Play Therapy to connect with seriously traumatized children like Maggie, but this time their efforts seemed fruitless. Day after day she was led into a room filled with toys but she didn’t know how to play with them. Hadn’t she been everyone’s toy? She was expendable and so were the toys, so she tore them apart and threw them. And all the while she was speechless. Maggie’s therapists knew she was terribly hurt physically and emotionally, but her stony silence and her impassive face locked them out.

Then, one day, out of the blue, Maggie sat down among the toys, and started talking. She took two dolls and acted out the details of her abuse, and she began to explore and deal with the awful things that had happened to her. And the therapist who had prayed for the day that Maggie would speak said softly, “Never again, Maggie, never again.”

That day marked the beginning.