Monthly Archives: December 2011

Revising a Life

(Excerpt from Unempty)

Last night, my sweet Special Needs child held me.  He is not a snuggler by nature and there was something new in his act, like the fresh scent of baby powder tickling my nostrils at the start of the day.  I felt as though he was reaching a place inside me, holding the hand of a smaller version of myself.

 

It made me cry, his need filling my own.  It pushed me to a place where I envision my little self – the tiny girl – neglected and left to raise herself, left to somehow navigate this world.  It’s a wonder I’ve ever found my own feet to land on, let alone a set of wings to try to soar with.  Most days, I feel like I’m still searching for my feet, for solid ground.

 

Yet I am reminded, through my children, that I am strong.  I am also reminded that I am still so very small.

 

I share with you an ear-marked place in my manuscript.  A place that I am forever trying to capture the perfect emotional content to share with readers.  The entire manuscript is difficult for me to re-read at this point in my life – as if I am revising my work while revising my very soul.  There are times in this writing process of revision when I can barely show up…

 

I know I must show up, but not for the reader.  I must show up for myself.  For in capturing my story, writing my journey, I continue to understand and embrace all of me.  I continue to heal:

 

(the following is an excerpt from Unempty)

 

She sets the phone and misses the cradle.  She slides off the edge of her bed, to her knees and onto the unforgiving floor.  It’s her second conversation with God this year.  Maybe the second in two decades.  The last time she remembers praying, she was also in a gown, but it was loose and made of cotton.  Her vision of God hasn’t changed much over the span of time.  His beard isn’t quite as long, but he still has a Jewish nose, undeniable lines intersecting his face and ice-blue eyes.  Someone to fear.  This is not a reunion for her, but a confrontation.  The words, stiff on her tongue, are soon pouring out of her, bleeding through her.

 

“Listen here, You’ve given me hell my whole life.  One gigantic crisis of pain after another.  I can’t think of a time that hasn’t simply sucked!  Now this???  My baby has to suffer?”

 

She pauses for a breath.

 

“You didn’t give me parents, I’m the one without the childhood, don’t You remember?  I don’t know what a mother even looks like and now my baby may never sit up?”

 

She heaves and gulps the air while every muscle trembles until it reaches her bones.  Her teeth begin to chatter.  She can feel the warm blood trickle onto her lower leg.  She presses her knees into the floor and speaks softer, a whisper in the silence.  She tries to keep her power.  She repeats the same questions until she can no longer ask.  There is no answer.  The last of her tears feel scratchy and raw.  Her voice slows, pauses, stops.  She feels gutted, turned about, and looks around the floor to ensure herself that none of her organs have fallen out of her.

 

She rises, changes and threads her IV line through her sleeve.  Her clothes hang shapeless on her nearly narrow frame, as though they belong to another.  She places her slippers on the wrong feet, wipes the mascara from her cheeks and wanders to the elevator.  To her son.  She presses her hands against her chest, an attempt for control, to slow her breathing.  How can she provide a nurturing home for this baby when the only experience she’s ever encountered has been of violence, abuse, and abandonment?


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