Backstory. We were given a template for a poem that we were supposed to complete at Jessica’s House. I honestly really wasn’t feeling it. So for about 10 minutes I struggled to scribble down phrases that sounded pretty together. I knew I wasn’t going to volunteer to read it anyway, so why even bother?
Then people started reading their poems. People started crying. I remembered my own heartache that I kept tucked away in a corner of my heart. So I started writing over my previous words. This time it flowed without me having to think about it. Erin, our director, was sitting next to me, so she saw me re-writing the poem. She asked if I wanted to share, and I did.
This is what I said:
“Backstory for you guys. I came into Jessica’s House saying I didn’t have any grief or significant loss to share, so I came here to learn to step into stories of grief and pain since I didn’t have any of my own. But earlier this morning I remembered a huge part of my own story. You know me as an only child, but actually my mom miscarried 8 other children, and I just forgot… until earlier today. It was like Erica said earlier… when things get triggered it’s like time slows down and you become wrapped in a bubble of your own thoughts. That’s exactly what happened to me, and then I forgot again when lunch rolled around. But after hearing some of you share, I remembered again… so yeah, here’s my poem.”
(the bolded words are the words that were already provided for us)
I wonder what you look like.
I hear the sound of my mother crying.
I see other kids playing with their siblings,
I want to do the same.
I pretend you don’t exist.
I feel like you’re watching me.
I touch the places you should be.
I worry that I’ll disappoint you.
I cry when I feel your absence.
I understand that I’ll see you again.
I say that I will honor you.
I dream that we’ll all embrace each other some day.
I try to take care of our parents.
I hope that you are proud of me.
I am not an only child.
I understand that it’s not the most poetic thing in the world… but writing this gave me an outlet to say things that I did not know needed to be said.
I have grief. The world has tried to minimize it and write it off as shallow and less significant than other losses… but I have eight people that were meant to be in my life. They are my flesh and blood. We share the same heritage. We share a bond that can be felt a lifetime away. Honestly I feel like they’re with me. Maybe they’re watching me from heaven, maybe not. But their presence is hefty, especially since their presence is defined by their absence.
I will live the rest of my life longing for a taste of what it looks like to know them. But until that can actually happen I will spend the rest of my days remembering them, and hopefully making them proud. I hope that the second I pass from this world to the next, I walk straight into the arms of the eight Verona kids. I cannot wait to meet them.
I carry grief. I have experienced loss. I have a story, and it’s important. May I never again forget that.
-Soli Deo Gloria