In times of trouble when I feel like I have nothing left to write, nothing left to give, I turn to someone in my family who has been with me since I can remember. She has guided me and comforted me, cajoled me and loved me and reminded me of my dreams, my heritage, the ones who love me, and the talent and purpose we are all given in this life. I have never met her face to face, in fact, she passed away at the age of fifty, leaving five children and a life of love spanning continents. She name was Pearl Heloise Sura and she was my great grandmother.
She has stayed with all of us, living and loving across four generations through her beautiful writing, what she called her very soul. I believe in the pages of her poetry her soul does indeed reside and that she comes back to us, to guard and guide us in times of hope and sorrow, in times of joy and pain. Today she is with me. She was with me each night in the hospital, telling me I could live, assuring me that there was nothing to fear in dieing. I have never been afraid of this life or the one after because her presence has been with me through my grandmother, through my great Aunties, through my dad and all the people she loved and wrote poems for.
When I was very little, I would sit on the floor of my grandparent's home and make people read me the poem about my father over and over, laughing at her way of gently poking fun at the rambunctious boy she knew and feeling closer to him through her, feeling that I knew the father I loved as my strong, tall dad and and the boy he once was, her Danny.
And just like I have all my life, I am coming back to her words today to sooth and remind me, to love and encourage me from a distance that feels much closer than these four generations. I've had this poem memorized for as long as I can remember and when I left home to go out and find another collection of dreams in the big world outside our small town, my grandma framed these words for me, they've lived with me in every dorm room, tiny apartment, duplex, and home I've ever gone. They've been there to remind me not jus of the fragility of our dreams and the strength of our hearts as we find new ones but of the love and support of my family and my ties to something greater, a greater love than I could ever imagine, one that can weather any defeat, one that brightens every good day and strengthens every victory.
Yesterday as I was laying painfully in the hospital, feeling IV nurses try over and over to find a vein, feeling the needles strike nerve and tendon, slide straight through the vein into my poor muscle, I got a phone call from my husband telling me that the home we've been trying to build since April is not to be.
The builder never filed the permits, the house designed to make life with a disability just that much easier is not going to happen. The paint colors I picked out and the step in shower I made sure was still stylish while accommodating my weak and stolen leg were just a dream. It felt like the world was falling down again.
Some of you may know that we were planning on selling our home in Portland to cover the cost of the surrogate birth of our first child and a home build to function for my disability. When the first of those fell through, we picked ourselves up and I texted my dad to say I would keep making a safe, wonderful home where our baby could land. We had lost one dream for now but we could still attain the other.
Neither were meant to be. That felt so painful yesterday but last night I dreamt of dancing. I know she came to me, to dance with me, to tell me it's okay that I clung too hard and held too fast. These weak things never do last.
She came to me to tell me we will find another dream like a star above to look at at follow, hoping to reach it some tomorrow.
And if that one never comes, she'll be with me then too. She'll comfort me and point to another star, and I will keep reaching, keep hoping, keep dreaming of a beautiful tomorrow.
Today I hope you reach out to someone who loved you in your childhood, who gave you a sense of who you were, are, and will be. Someone who loved you and loves you still. It bears repeating, nothing is every accomplished alone. Our families are are foundation, whether you're resting on the solid rock built for you throughout generations or in the midst of building a new foundation, I wish you love, peace, and survival through whatever may come. I hope it's dancing.
Lots of Love,
I had an idea about starting a blog just for family members where we could share her poems, our memories of her, and pictures of our family through the years. Let me know if that sounds good to you! I could take down stories and scan pictures at the reunion if we're all on board, that way we have a kind of family database to keep her heritage alive.