The early mornings sometimes remind me of the huge gulf that exists between the ‘me’ of today and the ‘me’ of 6 years ago; lately I’ve been taking trips back in time to when meeting a new day was a struggle, emotionally and sometimes physically. The me that sat on my parents’ deck, escaping for brief moments my mom’s tireless cough, would raise an eyebrow if I were to tell her that one day I’d be thankful to be woken up by the baby at 5:30 am, knowing that the end of this dawn feed would be followed by a writing session. It’s perfect timing. In fact, it has all been perfect timing. Some of the deepest pain I have known, the greatest fears, the darkest moments – from where I sit now – when chiseled away and polished up, have been some of my brightest gifts.
I share this journey in the upcoming Heartmind Wisdom Collection 2, an anthology of 21 authors who have penned their triumphs over experiences like sexual abuse, depression, grief, and other things that you and I have lived through. My chapter begins on the cherry laminate living room floor of my old house, with 10 month old Inaya crawling in and out of my lap, tears streaming down my face, and my concerned husband trying to piece me together with suggestions of where I might find help. All the while, inside, I knew that if I could just put my finger on what – or who – it is I was missing, I might be able to look forward to the sun sneaking its way into my bedroom. I might even be able to look past a grey sky and know there is still light.
Writing this chapter was like jumping on a boat and crossing the gulf, back and forth, many times. I felt it all again. Saw it, smelled it, breathed it, tasted it, lived it again. This morning, as the clouds promise to spill on my garden beds, I remember looking out on a different garden. And with the news that Heartmind Wisdom Collection 2 will be launched on May 31, 2014, I celebrate with a letter to myself 6 years ago – to the me sitting beside the creeping forget-me-nots of my parents’ backyard tapestry, listening to the soothing sounds of water cascading over the water feature my dad built for my mom to enjoy in her final years.
I see you sitting on the tan-coloured planks of Mom and Dad’s deck of that home that we all knew would be Mom’s last. I can hear the water trickling over the carefully lain stones that Dad surprised us all by placing, one at a time, this way and that, until a perfectly formed water feature graced the corner of the yard. There are the bees buzzing by the lamb’s ear that you keep eyeing. You must really need some reprieve if you are sharing space with the only insects that scare the daylights out of you. I know, Mom’s cough and her failing body are pinning you down to these planks. And on the other side of the sliding door is your little girl who showed up quickly and purposefully, but whose needs can sometimes be too much for you when you are consumed by your angry thoughts. It’s ok. You are not a bad mother. God did not make a mistake giving you a child. It’s hard to see it now, I know, but soon you will understand that she is the catalyst to your new life. This new life is already being built, but like the water feature, it will take a great deal of strength and faith and time.
Can I sit beside you here beside the pink forget-me-nots you love? What is it about this groundcover that make them your favourite part of the garden? Seasoned gardeners know that these plants need careful tending or they will take over the entire space. Seeing you sitting here, your fingers caressing the tiny petals, the word ‘resilient’ passes through me. Rest assured, you are not too different from this hardy plant. Soft and delicate-looking, you possess a strength to create the reality you dream of – and when an idea of yours takes root, you will reach and reach and reach and cover whatever ground you need to to achieve what it is you want. Maybe it’s the Taurus in you, or maybe the unshakeable spiritual beliefs that pulse within you. Whatever it is, it’s your greatest asset. And it will get you off this deck.
But first, several things need to happen: Mom has to leave you physically and several more people have to enter and re-enter your life. The first of which will be a pain I can’t protect you from or even prepare you for, but I will love you through it all. And I will wait patiently for you to become acquainted and re-acquainted with old friends, new friends, mother-figures, other creatives who share your vision. But most importantly, I will breathe a huge sigh of happiness when you get to know someone – the only one – who has been travelling with you this whole time: You/Me.
That white butterfly that visits Mom and Dad’s garden daily, the one flitting over the stones right now? She is the subject of the first poem you will read publicly – the first of many – and she becomes the totem that carries you into a life where sharing your stories is your work, and raising three children with this wonderful man who never left your side is the sweetest icing on the cake. (We do love our cake!)
As this letter comes to a close, so does that gulf between you and me. All this back and forth is tiring 😉 So, just join me here and enjoy the life you have worked hard to build. With God by our side, nothing has been, or will ever be, impossible.
Celebrate Heartmind Wisdom Collection 2 with me and my co-authors on Saturday May 31, 2014 at the Aston Pacific Inn Resort & Conference Centre in South Surrey, B.C. It’s a free evening with the official book launch and inspirational sharing taking place from 7-9 pm and a live concert happening from 9-11 pm. There will also be vendors with their beautiful wares and a cash bar. For more information, please join our event page here.