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On this occasion, I was thankful. All the kids turned toward him. Don offered the last half of his chocolate chip cookie. Even though the one word question sounded harsh as it hung in the still air, Jeremy leaned toward Jack in a way that invited him to share his secrets. Jack looked around at all the faces now turned attentively his way. Like a jackrabbit, he leaped back into his hole, and the crack in the door disappeared as quickly as it had opened.

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He suggested that his stepfather was a man who was missing a major body part. If you are caught in an avalanche, you have several choices. If buried by an avalanche, keep one hand in front of your face and try to clear and maintain an air space. You should also try to maintain space for chest expansion by taking and holding a deep breath. Avoiding panic helps to conserve energy. I was a little surprised to hear from her since his father had temporary physical custody. I was also a little worried--well, maybe a lot worried--that I might not be able to remain objective with her.

A battle was in progress, and, as I found out, she was losing. She had raised the two kids, Jack and his sister, since the divorce years ago when they were toddlers. Now that Jack was in high school, Dad decided he wanted custody. My guess was, he no longer wanted to pay child support. They are my soul. When she started to cry in my office, I wanted to take her in my arms and console her, and then I wanted her to take me in her arms and console me.

I felt useless, and I knew I was in trouble. Way too close, this stuff. Group was a morose occasion the next week.

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She was placed in a group home. He only got that many words out in between stuffing his mouth with a bag of potato chips. Herve, a striking Latino with biceps the size of Montana, pulled his long legs up to his chin—another tight little ball forming.

A stream of Spanish emerged in response to this news, and even though no one could interpret the words, everyone understood. I asked Jack to stay after group to talk to him about the possibility of a court appearance. I was pretty sure someone would subpoena me. His body stood in the doorway, and the light from the hallway surrounded him like a halo.

I stood for a moment looking into his eyes, seeking the secret to why a boy wants to live with his Mom. Perhaps the experts underestimated how much boys need their mothers, too. And how much we need them. They are unpredictable since snow falling on a quiet, gentle slope may cause an avalanche, where snow falling on a much steeper slope stays where it is. Each system seeks its own angle of repose.

People do the same. I went to court on behalf of Jack. I simply told them what Jack told me. His father drank—all the time. He had little to give to either Jack or his sister. When he lived with his mother, she worked hard at making sure they carved pumpkins and toasted the seeds, strung popcorn and cranberries for the Christmas tree, colored Easter eggs and hunted all over the neighborhood with the other kids to find them. There was no decision that day. I went home to prepare for my own hearing, and to brace myself for any possible landslides.

The Mystery of the Hidden Room (FULL Audiobook)

It was the day after my own hearing. Being a mother was who she was, you see. When I hung up the phone, I held onto a table while the room shook and churned around me. Some symptoms include guilt, mood swings, depression, nightmares, withdrawal from family, friends, and colleagues, and a heightened sense of vulnerability. When helping others who have been affected by the trauma, there are certain things to keep in mind. Remember that as a person who cares for the survivor of a traumatic event, you are a co-survivor. You must expect that you will also experience post-trauma consequences.

My son moved in with his father, and Jack remained with his.

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Marissa returned, back from her group home and residing once again with the abusive stepfather. Don continues to offer food to those he considers in need of some scrap of comfort. He comes to visit me alone once in a while, his grief heavy on his face. I do not reassure him that everything will be okay.

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She lives in southeastern NC with her husband, John, and her dog, Stella. A: As a former counselor working with adolescents, my stories are about teenage boys and girls living in broken worlds who suffer a loss of innocence that changes them forever. Although all of my stories are drawn from real-life traumas, the characters, settings, and time periods are fiction.

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Q: What writers do you consider to be your primary influences? I could go on…. I spent that entire summer in our degree attic writing a novel. It was a semifinalist in a novel-in-progress contest and second runnerup in the Three Oaks Prize for fiction by Story Line Press. I believe in it.

I am also working on more short stories for my collection entitled The Last Time I Wore Pigtails , all true stories that are shameless lies. The lies started small, benign, even comical.

The Discovery of America Vol. 1 (of 2), John Fiske

In retrospect, Kate knew she should have intervened. But at first she listened with relish as her daughter Maya practiced the teenage art of exaggeration. What harm could come from a little extra flourish, the verbal equivalent of a padded, push-up bra? Maybe her stories would help her fit in. For once. Faye, Lucy, Lila, and Nicole were an interchangeable chorus line of skin-tight t-shirts that showcased their pierced belly buttons. Faye, the bustiest and bossiest, took center stage, and Maya as nerdy-looking as Kate was herself at fifteen wore more clothes than the rest put together.

The first time Kate drove the carpool to Sparta High, she took in the visuals—school buses through the windshield, bare trees and garbage trucks through the rearview, parking lots and strip malls through the right and left windows—and listened. The next time Kate drove the minivan, the carpool chatter was all about which girls had sweet hair, which boys had cute butts, and clothes—they talked endlessly about clothes. Maya crumpled into the middle seat of the middle row while the other girls lengthened their legs.