I was honored to read this entry, along with a few more, at the annual Hazelwood West Writers Week today.
It has been one year and one day
since I held you. One year and one day since I labored for thirteen and
one half hours, since I sweat and bled and cried for you. You, whom
I would deliver on a cold, February morning. You, eyes forever closed.
It has been one year and one day since you opened mine. And today, theirs
will open too.
Today the students of Hazelwood West will see my pain, how
death can seemingly kill for years. They will know that it broke
me. They will see that I almost died too.
Today they will learn of you, of my
beloved, and a voice will reverberate in these walls, but it won't be
It will be yours.
And you will tell them. You
will tell them that their pain is valid. Every ounce and every scar,
warranted. Every breath, deserved. Earned. Fought for.
They will remember wounds, deep and
invisible. They will cry for you, for loved ones lost and for love
unrequited. Their hands will shake. It will erupt from deep
within, poisoning as it circulates in a skin that has hidden too
much, for too long. And you will tell them not to be
ashamed, invoke the release that shall set them free. You are
standing before them now, taller than this life allows, as
you implore them to share. This pain, this grief that holds them
back. Such a wisdom in your words, your appeal like a song to these ears,
as you tell them: You must declare it, stand tall in its wake.
You must not be ashamed. As the bone breaks and calcifies, this
pain, she manifests, and you must own it. Like the antidote, it is your
They will see what you have done to
me, to this mother. Your mother. And they will know of my love for
you, how it seeks no limit. They will sense no hesitation in my tongue,
no fear in my words of you.
And they will rise from their seats,
from years behind battle scars and shame, and they will know what this
pain can achieve.
There is an understanding now.
A name in their ears.
A spring in their step and a
pulse in their veins that wasn't there before. I can hear a
voice as they leave me, as I heard when you did the same.
But it isn't mine. It was never
It is yours.