As any of you following my blog know, I’ve had some things I hadn’t dealt with and I finally decided to take the bull by the horns and get a handle on this pain I’ve been carrying around…a lot of it for my whole life.
I have been writing since I was a very young girl, and it has always been both a release and one of the best medicines I have ever had access to. I have used my writing to earn a living and to help me through some of the most difficult times of my life. It is cathartic. A lifeline in my darkest moments.
I still write letters too…although now I type them, rather than setting pen to paper. Most of my letters are to dead people. Weird? No, not really.
Often, when things are really weighing heavy on my heart, my soul, my mind, I will write to one of the two wisest, dearest women in my life…both now my guardian Angels. One was my grandmother; the other my first husbands mother…my “Mum in heart”. Both were strong influences in my life and both mother figures.
When I need advice, I still turn to them. I sit and pour my heart out, putting the words I find difficult to form in the verbal, down on paper in the written form. The process is totally unstructured…usually without a single point or thought…mostly rambling, confusing to anyone else, but conversational and poignant. Often I type through tears and when I am done the page is covered in red lines, pointing out my spelling errors…looking like my own blood has been splattered across the page.
Metaphorically speaking, it usually has been my blood. With these two women I never hold back. Usually, by the time I am done, I am spent, drained, exhausted. And so, I sit…my mind blank by this time, void of any emotion. Silenced. But with my heart wide open. I am listening. Waiting. I know that if I am willing, they will answer, holding me, guiding me, comforting me, still loving me unconditionally. The faces of love.
I also write to my father, mostly about things more tangible. My grandchildren, politics: we loved debating politics, he and I. I like to tell him about the books I’m reading, the places I’ve travelled to, new people I have met and my first impressions of them. I brag too…about me….my successes, things I’ve done…like the hang gliding! He’d have been cheering me on during that adventure! People have always told me that I am my father’s daughter…I look like him, am self reliant like him, strong like him, and I am proud of that.
The other person I have written too over the last 40+ years is Jack, my first husband and father of my two biological children. I used to write to Jack when we were married, after we divorced, and after he died more than 20 years ago. He never saw any of the letters I wrote when he was alive…I generally wrote them out of anger, sadness, regret…and once I got all of it out on paper, I’d tear them up or burn them. Now I just hit delete on the computer. Mostly I write about our two children, my relationship with them, their relationships, their children, their successes, struggles and challenges.
Cathartic. An unusual word for what writing provides me. A place to vent, rant, rage, sob, question and probe. But mostly, writing provides a safe place for me. To heal, to grieve, to express love, to listen. To be vulnerable…without appearing weak.
If I am still, and open, and willing to listen, I always, always, get an answer. It may not always be the answer I expect…or want, but it is always the answer I need. For me, writing these letters is akin to prayer. They lighten my load and give me the courage to move forward in this wonderful journey we call life.