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Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Dear Josie,

The other night, I was catching up on one of my online support forums.  Actually, I prefer to call them lifelines. 

Maybe it's strange that I still frequent them more than any other site, that I feel more at home with those women than with anyone else, those amazing and inspiring and stronger than stone women.  My heroes. 

But if it's strange I don't really care.  I keep thinking of my favorite Doors song, "When you're strange, faces come out of the rain."  And that's what they did for me.  There was a storm and it was so dark for a time and then suddenly, there were faces. 

There was someone new.  There is always someone new.

And it always makes me angry.  And my stomach gets tight and my throat will constrict and I must curse the universe for a moment, because I don't have to read their words, because I already know them.  Lived them.  Live them. 

And it takes me back to that moment in your hospital room where I told your father I wanted to die.  And I'm angry that someone else lost their child.  I've never met her but I am her.  And I'm angry she wants to die. 

This woman who recently lost her son, her pain was so raw, so thorny.  And her words, they were sticking me.  Bleeding through my computer screen at 3am. 

She said she didn't feel like she could give anymore, to anyone.  Didn't know how to go on.  How does one continue?  Couldn't fathom going to the grocery store ever again. 

This wound, I could see it then.  Gaping and throbbing and red. 

And before they would scare me, these wounds.  How big they were, how they'd fester. How strange and out of place.   And I would run to the highest ledge and I'd watch the metastasis from afar, and how I thought I was safe. 

Only now I don't see wounds this way.  I see life in the pain.  I see love.  I see potential. 

So I told her, because I had to tell her.  Because she has to know that it doesn't ever get better, only she will.  She will get better.  She will be better than the person who existed before.

I told her that right now she doesn't have to care.  Cannot.  Possibly.  Care.  About anything else.  And I told her that's healthy.  I told her that's okay.  But there will come a time when she goes to the grocery store again. 

And maybe her feet are moving slower.  Perhaps she feels out of place, tossing frozen peas into the cart.  And maybe she leaves in hysterics, because what's her name from the TODAY show had her baby girl and she saw them on the cover of some magazine in the checkout line.  And she swears she'll never venture out again, only she does.  Two weeks after that.  And this time, she makes it through her list and back to the car. 

This pain, it never leaves me, because it's love.  It's the only love I get with you.  And it hurts in a way that doesn't translate because I'll never place a bow in your hair,  but my arms aren't as open without it. 

Don't give up, I told her.

Because one trip to the store becomes five.  And ten.  And then thirty. 

And one step begets a thousand more. 

One needle in one shaking hand guides the hundreds after.

Until the scar becomes the purpose. 

And the needle, the life.


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