Post #195 – Women’s Memoirs, ScrapMoir – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett
First Place Winner (Tied) Announced in Women’s Memoirs Contest – Gratitude for Uncommon Sisters Category
The sense of gratitude is powerful. Acknowledging it and thanking someone is an endeavor meaningful to both people. Through our Memoir Contest featuring Gratitude we received some wonderful stories. Today we are pleased to publish Jessica Wild’s story, The Hand of God.
Congratulations Jessica on your award-winning story.
The Hand of God
I call her, sobbing. “I need you.” I am driving and shaking and… sobbing. Her voice calms me in an instant. This woman is my sister and my teacher.
“Tell me… what’s wrong.” Her voice carries a love for me that I have heard from few others. She is amazing.
I begin sobbing anew. I actually have to pull over. I was having a full blown panic attack, heart racing, sweating, the works. It begins to bubble out of me and I can’t stop it. “Am I doing the right thing? Should I just wait a little longer? Maybe things will get better. I can’t have this baby alone. Can’t I just put this off another year. We can pretend that long. We have pretended for nine years already. This is SUCH bad timing; I was stupid not to wait.”
I can’t work because I am seven months pregnant and raising five kids on my own now. I can’t pay the bills and I have no idea what I am supposed to do next. I am so tired and I can’t think. And between sobs I choke out my deepest fear: “Who is going to lay across the bed from me and help me tell her she is beautiful? “ Snot runs down my face. I grab a tissue and try to breathe.
I am due to have a baby in seven weeks. She is our fifth. I have just done my last paid birth until my baby is 6 weeks old. I would have no money for almost five months. I am, essentially, jobless. My soon-to-be-ex-husband moved out (on my request) less than a week ago and I am exhausted. My oldest son is in kindergarten. The other three are home with me. Most of my friends don’t know about my pending divorce so I have kind of been in hiding. My mother has just come to take the children for the weekend so I can finish cleaning my husband’s things out of the house. I am alone. And I am scared shitless.
I hear her voice on the phone. “Where are you?”
“I am on my way to your house.” I can hear her breathe.
“How long until you are here?”
I get my bearings on the freeway and reply, “About 40 minutes.”
“Oh good. Are you okay until you get here?”
Hearing her voice and knowing I can go to her home makes me calmer. “I am okay. I will still probably cry the whole time, but I am okay.”
“See you soon.”
I hang up the phone and put my hand on my huge belly bulge and whisper to my unborn daughter. “I am okay. We are okay. This will all be okay.”
Then I cry because I do not believe myself.
She meets me at the door. Her home is sacred. She is a teacher. Her home is… well… home. I stumble into her arms, putting my head on her chest, trying to stop the tears long enough to say hello. She holds me. I finally find my voice and say into her breasts. “I don’t know what to do. Can I undo this; will I survive if I don’t undo it? Should I just say I am sorry and… fake it?”
She laughs at me. We have a private joke about “faking it” from a tipsy GNO earlier that year. It makes both of us smile and we slip into that “You have to laugh because crying isn’t doing it.” kind of laugh. It is enough to drop some of my overwhelming sorrow. Her house is like that. She is like that
She points into her office. She is a healer. From the moment I met her, I was a better person. I curl up in one of the overstuffed couches and tuck my feet under me. She sits next to me. My eyes had to be that of a deer as it stares down its hunter. I was sure I was about to die. She starts questioning me, in her beautiful therapeutic way. Asking me to walk through things a step at a time and evaluate each option; reminding me to feel the emotion and energy around my choice. Then she waits patiently while I chose the right path. She is good for me.
We eventually move into a meditation. I stretch out my legs and she starts to help me see where I need to go. She takes me through our familiar grounding; I go there quickly with her. We have been many times. And she instructs me to see a light, coming from my heart chakra. I am amazed as a twinkle of pink and green light comes out. She asks me what it looks like. I tell her.
“Okay. Now, make it a road. Make it hard. You are going to walk out on it when you are ready.”
I work on the image in my mind for a moment, and nod that I am ready. She asks me “What do you see.”
“Well… there is a bit of a bridge, but it ends in about 20 steps. I can’t quite see, it just looks like it ends.”
“Good…so start walking those 20 steps.”
I see, in my mind’s eye, where I am walking. I approach the edge and nod.
She asks me, “Where are you?”
I tell her I am standing about five feet from the edge of what I can see. She tells me to go look over the edge. I am terrified of heights. I stand and wait. Then in my mind, I peek over, wishing for a railing, like at the Grand Canyon. There is no rail. It is only… mist.
It wasn’t…scary, per say. Just unknown. I visualize in color usually, but this mist stuff, was…not color.
So here I am in my mind’s eye, peeking over the edge. She asks me how I feel. I tell her I don’t like being there and I have to back up. She waits. I exhale.
“Why are you afraid?” she says in a quiet, near whisper.
“I am not afraid. I just don’t know what’s down there.” I quickly defend myself, almost opening my eyes. She laughs at me. I smile.
“Well, then, what do you need to do to be NOT afraid?”
“I want to know what’s down there, but I don’t know if I can fly.”
She chuckles again. “Oh, honey, you don’t need to know how to fly now, that is something you learn as you go.”
“But what if I CAN’T fly.” There are fresh tears spilling onto my cheeks.
“Well… then you will land somewhere, won’t you. Why don’t we see where you land today? I am here, you are safe, just go there with me, and we can look at the options together.”
I exhale and try to get back to the place of peace I am looking for. She allows me the time to sort through things in my mind, softly coaching me.
“What’s the worst thing that can really happen?”
“Okay. How would that feel?” she says. She takes me into my deepest fears of judgment, unworthiness and failure. And she helps me see that, really, the only thing you can do, is ”leave it all on the track.“ There is a moment of uncertainty that slowly becomes a sense of courage. I am calm. But I am not at all certain I am safe.
So I breathe, and I tell her. “Okay, I am going to step over the edge”. And I walk, cautiously. And I step off. In my mind I am falling. It is pretty amazing. There is mist and pictures and beauty all around me. (And before anyone asks, no there were no ‘shrooms involved in the making of this movie. *laugh*)
You know that moment, when you are flying a paper airplane and it catches that last bit of air and glides to a flat stop? Yeah. That. I had landed. It wasn’t a huge bump, but there was still a deep uncertainty.
I tell her that I am ready to move forward. She begins to speak again. She asks me to tell her where I am. I explained to her that when I stepped off the ledge in my mind, I had closed my eyes. I had been falling with my eyes closed. I am back to looking at my landing and I kind of try to open my eyes to see where I am.
She asks me then, “Open your eyes, Where are you? Where did you land?”
I see myself opening my eyes and inhale the sob that forms in my throat. She gives me a moment to process then asks. “Where are you, Jess?”
I cannot find my voice, and I feel like I can’t breathe. I motion that I need a moment. I am awash in… what? Relief? Release? Peace? Gratitude? Probably a swirl of all of them. My voice is unsteady and I am kissed with hope.
My emotions are barely in check as she asks again quietly. “Jess, what do you see?”
I take a moment to look around and then all at once as the mist finally clears. I am sobbing body-wrenching sobs. I whisper through my hand that has instinctually covered my mouth, “My kids are here. They were patiently waiting. They are here with me and we are safe. They were already here. They just needed me to launch.” I can no longer talk; it is all I can do to breathe. I am filled with emotions that earthly words would diminish, silence is the only option.
“I …. landed in the Hand of God.” The words choke out of me in an almost inaudible whisper and fresh quiet tears come. I breathe. We sit with my message and let it soak in. As I come back to my own awareness, I hear my own voice in my head: “I am okay. This is okay. We are okay. “
I think I believe myself now.
She cries with me. I love her. I have this moment we shared burned on my consciousness. It is a visual I have used many, many times since then. It sustained me through the birth of my child, a divorce and countless hopeless days since.
Flash forward about ten weeks. It is the week of New Years. I am lying in bed nursing my infant. She is beautiful. I am peaceful and confident. It is 3 am — our middle of the night feeding. I have the lamp on and I am curled on one side of the bed with the baby in the middle. She finishes nursing and falls asleep. I scoot her to the now empty side of my king sized bed and reach for the light. My three year old pads in. I hear her pajama-clad feet rustling a sleepy stagger.
She says “Hi mom, I saw your light.”
She makes me laugh. “It is still nighttime sis, go back to bed.”
She gives a small grunt of disgust. “Ok, then I will just climb in for a kiss.” My bed is high and there is a wooden step on the other side of the bed for her. She climbed onto the stool and stopped, gasping.
“I looked her and said, “What’s wrong?” She climbed onto the bed threatening to wake the baby and swooped gently down to place a (rather firm) kiss on her sister’s cheek.
“Don’t wake her. Don’t wake her.” I whisper, waving her back.
And in that moment, my beautiful three-year-old angel daughter took me back to the Hand of God.
She looked at me with her piercing blue eyes, still swollen from sleep, and bubbled quietly “Oh Mom, I am so sorry, but I just HAD to kiss her. She is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my whole long life!”
And, there were the tears, again. “Thank you, sister,” I think, “for bringing me here again.” I motion her over and breathe her sweet head. My three year old didn’t go back to bed that night. She slept on the other side of the baby. And for a few minutes we lay there looking at her and wondering at her beauty and whispering to her; telling her she is beautiful. We are safe. It was all going to be all right.
And I believe it.