Today I found my words again. Today was a breakthrough. Today that familiar feeling came rumbling on in like distant thunder promising rain to thirsty soil. I almost ran from that urge to write. I knew what would come when my written words came pouring back out. There would be pain mixed in with a multitude of feelings that had consistently been pushed deep down inside. Safely kept and hidden. Exposure felt too risky and much too hard. Work and routine brought comfort and familiarity. Church brought joy and healing. The study of the book of James from Wednesday night bible study brought silent sarcasm from within a aching hurting heart. Joy in trials. Ha! Consider it all joy when trials come. “I will not!” Spoken both silently and out loud often to self like lines from a Dr. Seuss book. Two pastors just listened and I figured out early that two were exactly what was needed and more importantly what God had provided. They saved me hundreds of therapy dollars. They kept the healing moving forward and I will be forever grateful for their kindness, caring, and love. Friends and family brought words and touches that also brought healing and yet still my words stayed safely and stubbornly stuck. I wrote on Facebook one day; “Words seem to be stuck where my heart remembers Pamela belonging”. It was my first attempt at writing and it was all that made it out to print form. Until today.
Today, I will tell you about Tess.
She looks up at me with big brown eyes and I see her. I see a smile that can bust open the hardest of hearts and I also see all three years old of her struggling to get her words out. This little one is like me I think to myself for just a second. Our words are stuck. Her wounds inflicted from seizures that have wreaked havoc on Broca’s area in her brain and left her with dysarthric words. Words that slur together with imprecise articulation and incorrect pausing. Motor planning and production made difficult because of the trauma of an electrical system gone awry. My wounds dispensed from the death of one amazingly wonderful irreplaceable friend. Trauma hit. Trauma felt. Trauma leaving us reeling. Unsteady. Shaking. Staggering. Leaving us both with words that are stuck.
Tess smiles up at me and I see her. My silent thoughts interrupted. I unzip her coat and tell her we are going to sing today. “Seen?” she replies back. Yes, sing. I tell her. She tells me something else and I can’t understand her. I say, “I know. It’s crazy isn’t it?” That phrase works about 90% of the time with most children under the age of four and she nods her head back at me, her lips still grinning. Big brown eyes connect with my heart. I grab her hand and we find our spot in the middle of the room. We have snowflakes to use for our song. “I wa bue.” She tells me. and I say, “blue it is” while handing her two light blue sparkling snowflakes. She tells me something else I do not understand and then I do understand. Words stuck and stubbornly tucked away. Her and I. Words fighting their way back out anyway they can. Messy, garbled, but also hopeful and hope filled. Maybe never quite the same, but all the more beautiful because they are finally breaking free. Amazingly splendid because they carry such power and comfort. With words, we find our humanness and our ability to encourage. We combine mountains of courage with words spoken out loud to bring justice to the world and to offer forgiveness and healing. We speak kindness and spread joy.
Tess smiles up at me and I see her. She waits for our song to start. And so I sing. One, little two, little three little snowflakes. Four, little five, little six little snowflakes. She moves back and forth. Gently swaying side to side. She smiles. She looks up at me and we sing together. Messy. Off key. Mumbled. Seven little eight, little nine little snowflakes. She keeps moving to the rhythm and we find our rhythm together. Smiling. Singing louder. Waving snowflakes. Finding our words and using our voices the best we can. Ten little snowflakes….on…..my…. nose.