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Audra Anderson
Four little letters that have so much impact on the human soul.
Every day I watch my daughter struggle and suffer from a serious emotional disorder.
The beautiful, happy-go-lucky child I had disappeared slowly,
by the age of eight years old
my “sunshine” was hidden by dark clouds of despair and unhappiness.
I watched as slowly her friends disappeared,
one by one.
I saw her cry.
I saw her rage.

By the age of fifteen,

she had already experienced more pain and sorrow
in her young life
than most people experience in a lifetime.
Self-destructive behaviors
began to rule her life.
One ordinary day, a day that began like so many before,
something had changed for her.
Like an answered prayer from above,
A psychiatrist finally found the correct medication for her.
Beneath the veils of stormy clouds,
my “sunshine” was shining through again.
I saw her laugh, smile.
I saw her have hope for the future.
I began to have hope.
I got to meet my daughter again.
The beautiful, sweet happy young woman I knew was inside of her was finally shining through.
For six months I had my daughter back again.
Everything in life must change,
and no amount of tears, pleading or despair
could prevent her relapse.
She discontinued her medication,
and once again I watched as my “sunshine”
slowly disappeared  
behind a shroud of self-hatred once more.
It has been several years since I lost her
to mental illness again.
I miss her smile, her laughter, the warmth she exudes.
I worry one day she will not be here at all.
But I still have hope.
I have the undying, unwavering hope that a mother can have for her child.
I know that my “sunshine” is still there,
and every once in a while,
I get a glimpse of her.
I hope for her to have a fulfilling life.
I hope for her to never despair so much that she gives up.
Every day I watch her struggle and suffer from a serious emotional disorder.
But I refuse to give up hope,
and I refuse to allow her to either.
I hope and pray for all those who struggle along with my daughter.
Hopefully, we will never give up.
Sometimes, hope is all that we have.