sweet alyssum

Journal entry July 2001: My last reason is gone. máthair chríona


We all have one element in common; we share this space laced with invisible threads connecting all life. I can only hope beyond reasoning that every single one of us has had, or will have, one other human being in particular who will shape their path in a gentle, yet astounding way. I say that I can only hope this is so, as I have witnessed individuals not living, but merely existing, without the influence of morals, values, kindness and gratitude touching their souls. I have witnessed lives lost due to no foundation laid before them, bleak and dark, shaped and defined alone by the course of society we all must endure today.  

I am one of those fortunate to have had one such beautiful soul in my life who forged every goodness in my being. Every fibre of value and virtue that I hold dear in this life and every principle, down to the tiniest, minute space within me, was instilled through  love and example, by one person.  There are very few that I hold any regard for in my life, this one was my dearest, most well beloved.

She was my sunshine in my thunderstorm adolescent life. She told me that God was in the rays of sunshine that beam down through the clouds. She showed me, and told me often, that my unique soul was the most beautiful thing in the world, even with my freckles and slightly sideways red pigtail braids. She was there for my first day of school, through my battle with scarlet fever, and later, teenage fads and broken hearts. She recognised every single one of my accomplishments, no matter how small. I had the unfortunate idea to participate in a marching band through my high school years, and she never failed see every single parade I was marching in, running along the sidewalk, pushing people out of the way so she could keep up with me, waving at me the entire length of the parade route. I landed a role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and there she was, in the front row, waiting in case I forgot my lines, a bunch of roses already in hand for my triumph. I sang in a choir, although not for long. She took me aside one evening and kindly suggested that perhaps I would be better suited to playing violin instead. She stood and wolf whistled when I (finally) graduated from University in 1998. 

She taught me that the intangible is bigger and better than any object of desire. I do not have anything surrounding me that does not make me give a small smile or creates positive emotion when I look at it or think about it, including people; there’s enough clutter elsewhere that needs attention.  She never told me what I should do, only asked what I could do. She never offered straightforward advice without me having to ask first, rather, she  questioned me as to why I thought my choices were reasonable, encouraging me to think for myself and take responsibility for my decisions. She told me that no one, not even her, empowers me. That was a hard lesson for me to learn, and I’m still in the process of acquiring that belief fully today. She afforded me grace throughout my entire lifetime of bad decisions, knowing exactly where the roots had been lain, only once speaking out loud of how she thought she should have done more. She tried to protect me when no one else would, when those around me were too busy protecting themselves and their reputations, she stood her ground for me. She was my defender until I was forced defend myself.

She was a lady on all accounts. I never heard her utter a swear word until we stood outside of a courtroom when I was twenty five, awaiting a verdict that, in the end,  would save my life. Not only did she swear, the quiet lady who had held her tongue for so many years struck the defendant in the case, knocking him out cold. She calmly turned, took me by the hand, and walked away. She was a fierce life warrior, a soul that was full of genuine love and strength.

I sat and watched her hold her husband’s hand as he died. My soul wept for her. The following day, we cleared his closet together, smelling his shirts; she revealed to me secrets of love letters and tiny gifts of affection. She remained strong throughout, knowing that she too would soon be leaving. She told me not to be afraid, but to be brave and always remember who I am, no matter what. We reminisced about me as a very young child, playing in a tiny patch of white flowers that seemingly grew out of rocks in her step garden. I had asked her how they grew there. She told me that she had thrown a few seeds into the wind, they had landed there, and there they grew. She said I was like those seeds and flowers, that no matter where I was thrown, I would grow where I was meant to, no matter where it was the wind took me.

When she left, my world as I knew it to be, ended. I was there, intentionally not seen. My last reason for staying where I was thrown was gone. I became those seeds she had thrown long ago,  I was left to wander through the narrow path on my own, the wind guiding my direction.



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