My Sweet Friend,
I just read your message about your baby’s diagnosis and my voice is trapped in my throat.
I’ve turned to this blank page for hope—trying to shape my words into something I can send you because I can’t just say, ‘I’m sorry.”
I love you fiercely, and I will write my love to you in the hope that my words may offer you a reflection of the love you deserve.
I remember when the doctor told me my father’s prognosis, and I dreaded sharing it with others because I didn’t want sympathy—I wanted someone to understand. I wanted someone to soften the hurt. I wanted to feel held.
I know I can’t steady my voice to tell you it’s going to be okay, so I’ll try to shape my words just right so they may offer you comfort across the ocean that separates us.
My words cannot heal your hurt, though I wish they could. I would use them to weave a blanket of gold to wrap around you and make you feel as precious as you are protected. I know you want to make everyone else feel safe right now, and I wish my words could offer you the armor against the fear and doubt that will creep in and challenge your optimism, your light.
I wish my words could chase the tears off your cheeks when the darkness creeps in. Know that if I could release those tears for you I would wear them proudly on my face, knowing your pain was felt and you didn’t have to carry it alone. Instead, may my words give you permission to feel everything as it comes and know it’s okay if all you do today is survive.
I wish my words could soften the pounding of your heart, the chatter in your head, and smooth out all that is so unknown and bumpy ahead of you. I wish my words could roll out a velvet carpet to make the path a little softer, and to kiss the soles of your feet to support them with every intrepid step you take forward. I wish my words could hold your hand when you feel alone with your pain, so you could squeeze them and feel me beside you. So you could always know they’re there when you need to share your tenderness with another, but also to understand when company is too much to bear.
I wish my words could soften your shoulders from the weight of the world that rests there to offer you the reprieve you deserve. They could remind you: You are stronger than you know, but you will never have to prove that to me. I wish my words could sit on your shoulder through the darkness, and you could turn to them in moments of quiet and let them whisper to you just the right combination of syllables to get you through until morning.
I wish my words could tell you that I can when you can’t. I can stand up, stand in, stand beside you when you feel like you can’t face another day, another hour, another minute. I wish my words could take your place and tuck you in so you could rest, my darling. I wish you could rest. I wish my words could tell you that your worry does not serve you and that I can carry it for you, if you’ll give it to me.
I wish they could fill out a permission slip that says you can have the time off, the space to breathe, and a pass to not have it all figured out right now. I wish that they could validate every ounce of what you feel and check all the boxes to say that you are safe in this space to feel all of it.
I wish my words could let you fall apart and spread out a hug so big that it could hold you until you felt whole again. That you could stay in this space and know you don’t need to have it together, and you don’t need to do anything beyond existing right now. But I could hold you, if you let me, with the love and the comfort that might say what my words can’t.
Rest. I wish my words could rock you to sleep so that you might feel peace, even for just a few hours, before your eyes flutter open to the reality that feels too hard to be real. I wish I could wrap my words around you to calm you when the pain feels too raw and you can’t catch your breath. When the world feels as though it’s upside down and you can’t possibly be right-side-up.
I wish I could hold your hands, look you in the eyes and be there with you. This distance between us makes me feel helpless, so I’ll send you my last wish. I wish for my words to make you feel loved, make you feel heard, and held, and seen.
I can hear the echo of your devastation and I’m calling back to you, telling you I am here, if only through words. And I am wrapping them around you and tucking you into the chambers of my heart.
Author: Halley Hadfield
Image: Jordan Whitt/ Unsplash
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren