God Came Running


And The Heaven's Wept

Pier Donnelly always felt uncomfortable with her father-in-law's not-so-fatherly hugs, but never dreamed they would so viciously rock her world....

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Diary entry, August 3,1977

We went to visit Brett’s parents yesterday. His Dad’s hugs are just plain creepy. Not like any fatherly hugs I’ve ever had. I wondered if it was my imagination or because I’m pregnant, then I realized that I’ve felt this way for years.

I want to shiver whenever he gets near me or touches me. What is that, do you suppose? Do you suppose he’s ever--no, never mind. That’s just too preposterous. I thought about telling Brett, but the man is his father. How do you tell someone something like that, Lord? He wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway. He’d probably shake his head, roll his eyes and tell me I’m crazy….

September-- 1993

Pier Donnelly looked up from her computer screen to see the sun break through a thick wintry cloudbank that exactly matched her mood, shadowing the Richmond, Nebraska skies. “It’s about time,” she mumbled to the sun, before turning back to the business at hand.No matter how hard she worked, the stack of insurance claims on her desk never seemed to diminish in size.

She sighed. After doing the same work for the same OB-GYN clinic, and specifically, for jovial, white-haired Dr. Aaron Glendenning, for eighteen years, she could do it in her sleep. Sleep. That was another subject she dared not examine too closely. 

A glance at her watch told her what she already knew. She had three interminable hours of work before she could leave for home.


She yawned. Too little sleep made for long, sluggish days that never seemed to end.

She couldn’t help but wonder--what was Meggie doing right now? She wasn’t sure she wanted to know, but the suspense was almost more than she could bear. Meggie, her fifteen-year old daughter, had, several years earlier, begun hanging around with those Pier could only describe as
lowlife scum.

Pier picked up the phone, began to dial home, then set it down, fearful and even slightly depressed.

It had all hit the fan, forever changing life, as they had known it, two weeks earlier, the day of Pier’s father’s funeral.

She and her husband, Brett, and the children, fifteen-year old Meggie and eighteen-year old Jay, saw a movie after the funeral, to try to lighten the oppressive mood of the day. Though her father had been brain injured and in a nursing home for years, Pier hadn’t been ready to lose him. She still felt ill equipped to deal with a life without him in it.

In a full theater, they had seen the movie remake of Made in America, where a mother and her daughter enjoyed a sense of closeness that Pier had only dreamed of having with Meggie.

For reasons her mother had never understood, Meggie, at age six, had suddenly driven Pier away emotionally, but would never tell her why, though she had asked repeatedly, trying to get a handle on the situation.


Pier shook her head. She recalled the day, years earlier, when she wondered what had become of her lighthearted and cooperative kindergartner. From that day on, when Pier said red, Meggie dug in her heels, arguing for blue, and absolutely nothing had changed to improve the situation in the more than nine long years since.

Feeling restless, Pier stood and stretched, picked up her coffee cup and headed for the coffee pot, hoping caffeine would pull her out of her mid-afternoon funk.


She tried to stop her mind from replaying the awful scene that had occurred at home, after the movie. But the tape in her head ran on.

Feeling a desire for closeness so powerful she could taste it, Pier had knocked on Meggie’s door and waited to be admitted.

“It’s open,” said Meggie with little emotion.

Meggie was beautiful, slender, with expressive blue-gray eyes, long sun-kissed straight hair, which she parted on the side, and a peaches and cream, fair complexion with a smattering of freckles across her nose. At fifteen, she was already taller than her mother.

Pier stood in the doorway, waiting for her daughter to meet her gaze.

“Yeah? What?” asked Meggie, frowning.

“Meggie, please. Can’t we talk?”

“About what?”

Taking a calming breath, Pier said, “Please sit down. I want to talk.”

When Meggie remained standing, saying nothing, Pier sat down on the edge of the bed and lowered her chin.

“You know what?”


“I’m dying for a relationship like they had in that movie. I want that with you so bad I can taste it, Megs.”

“Don’t call me that, Mom. I hate that name.”

“Sorry. But please, talk to me.”

Meggie shook her head, arguing, “There’s nothing to talk about.”

“Okay,” Pier crossed her arms and sighed. “Then I’m going to sit here from now until doomsday if I have to, until I can figure out how we can have that kind of relationship.”

Meggie sighed audibly, but said nothing.

Her mother, after a minute’s thought, said, “I’ll do anything to have that kind of relationship with you. Just tell me what to do.”

Meggie shook her head. “There’s nothing you can do. It’s not you, Mom, it’s me.”

This was the same refrain she’d been repeating for years, but Pier would no longer let it stop there.

“Honey, please. I know something happened. Do you remember what it was that started the mess we’re in?”

“Sure,” said Meggie, right before screaming at the top of her lungs. “It was the day Grandpa molested me!”

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