Friday, January 20, 2017
He is everything. He is every good thing in my world. He is also deepest sadness. Not because of him, but because he came with story. Words. He couldn't even speak when we opened our family to take this little guy in. But in him there was written every word of my past. Every word of the broken family I come from.
He is my sister's son. I am his aunt. And yet, I am not. They asked me if I would take him. If I would be his mother. My sister unable to mother him. Until that moment I did not know how many words could fill a person, how could you ache with words and yet all I could say was, "Yes." It was enough to say. I didn't know. But it was enough.
This little boy is now six years old. Words I see in him now are health, joy, hope.
But when he came to us with all the words that he couldn't even speak I found there were so many words that I could not say either. His story met my story and for a while we were still together inside this sadness. Both of us grieving. For everything he had lost and everything I had lost.
Words are like that sometimes. They still you. They take you to your knees. They sit within you like an internal bleed and you think that you are this weak thing, hemorrhaging with the very story of your past even though you can speak no words.
So, I stopped writing. For a while there was only me, this little boy, my husband, my other sons. Family. A new family that required everything I had to leave behind shadows. To believe that I could create in my adult life what childhood took. To sit with those words I couldn't yet speak and tell myself to breathe.
And then it happened.
Not suddenly. But surely.
That little boy learnt to speak.
And so did I.
I found my writing again too. And I wrote. In his nap times, while his brothers were at school. I wrote. A new book. Still with aching words. Still on my knees. But this time I was myself.
I wasn't trying to find clever ways to say things, if indeed clever things even matter. I simply let my honest, vulnerable words out. The words that little boy brought with him. His grief. My grief. His loss. My loss. The words were true, even though the story I was writing was made up. Something good emerged from a past that wasn't.
And I am back here. On this blog. With a new book now on submission and a third under way.
And I want to tell you this.
If you need to hear that like I need to hear that. Begin. Again.
Gather whatever words you have inside you, it isn't too late. And, when you can, bring those words out in whatever way feels right for you. Because sometimes the stories that most need to be told are the hardest to tell. And sometimes the person who needs to hear your words is you. But it might surprise you that others need to hear them too. You matter. And so do your honest, achy words.
Posted by Tabitha Bird at 6:02 AM