March #SOL15 Day Two
Every couple of months I bring up the idea of writing to my mom. I say, “wouldn’t you love to write your ideas down? Writing will help you organize your thoughts by getting them on paper. You’ll know what you’re thinking when you are able to write it down!” She says, almost 100% of the time, “No, I don’t think so.” She will often give an opinion along with her refusal. “Why would I do that? It’s not like anyone is going to read it…” Or, “Unless I am sending a birthday or Christmas card to someone, why would I write?”
Accompanied with my suggestion comes an old journal that’s been buried away in my mom’s past. A journal that was an assignment four years ago given to her by a speech therapist. The stroke left my mom with a slight to severe (depending on the day) inability to formulate her words. She knew what she wanted to say, she would tell us, but had trouble finding the right words. It was heartbreaking to watch her struggle. She’d often times give up, saying “Oh, never mind.” I wondered, how must it feel to have words trapped in your brain? Unable to escape. Incapable of relaying what you’re feeling, needing, and wanting? I noticed that she was slowly getting quieter and quieter. I didn’t hear her voice as often. I couldn’t bare it.
Her speech therapist suggested that she record her daily activities in a journal. I guess she thought it would help get things out on paper and also open up the lines of communication in their sessions. This task left my mom underwhelmed. It was an assignment, and as is the case with most assignments, it wasn’t enjoyable to her. In fact, she hated it. But, being the compliant woman my mother is, she dutifully completed those journal pages each day.
Now I was asking her to do it again. But this time, not for a therapy session. This time, for herself. Not for anyone else to read. This time, for herself. Most times I would bring the journal out and a few days later I’d find that thing right back in its place, beside the plants in a room she hardly ever used. It was a sweet refusal. No arguments. No long discussions about why she saw this journal as pointless. But, seeing the journal quietly nestled amongst the plants, plant food and tower of pots in waiting for spring planting, I knew the answer this time was the same as it had been in the past. No writing is happening here.
But then this happened…… I brought the journal out on Saturday, the same way I always had. By Saturday evening I noticed it hadn’t been relegated to the plant room. I thought, is there hope that the journal will live to see another day out here…..in the living room? It was at this point that I should have been patient and left it alone. But that’s just not my nature. I asked about it. My mom said she had read through some of the pages. My heart skipped a beat. She actually read it? She continued, “I can certainly do better than that. I have so much more to say!”
I chuckled to myself and thought, Yes, mom. You definitely have more to say. I know you do.
And the next day a brand new, smooth covered, light green, empty-paged journal was in my hands when I went to visit. This could be the start of something great!