I Have So Much More to Say

March #SOL15 Day Two

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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!

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20 thoughts on “I Have So Much More to Say

  1. I love this story. Thanks for sharing it. My Mom is often resistant to suggestions from me, no matter what they are.

  2. I could feel the heartache as you watch your mom and struggle to keep her engaged. I always want there to be a happy ending so I was hoping this story would have one.
    Hooray for Jill! So excited for her and for you! It opens a world of possibilities for you both. I could just picture you walking down the hall with a light-green journal in hand, probably with excitement and a little hesitation, never wanting to push her too much. Thanks for sharing! What a triumph!

  3. What a sweet sweet moment there at the end. Your mom DOES have so much more to say! I hope she finds the desire to work to get it out of her head and down on paper. She’s lucky to have you!

  4. I love your story. It hits home on so many levels – inspiring our students to write, being writers ourselves, sharing the gift of writing and the teaching of writing. I wish you and your mom so much luck as you write.

  5. Wow. This is a powerful piece and really resonates with me. It’s all about courage. Your mom’s reticence to write is a parallel for so many things in life. Writing for anyone! The fear of failure. The fear of success. I smiled and chuckled inside when I read “… I should have been patient and left it alone. But that’s just not my nature.” I can relate to that comment as a daughter and as a mother. How exciting for you and for your mom. I feel like this story is not done and I hope to read more.

  6. Oh, I felt the desperation and the hopelessness in your writing. The hope at the end left me feeling very satisfied as a reader. I love a hopeful ending. I hope your mom continues to write. Happy slicing!

  7. Just beautiful. I can hear her voice in your writing. She does have so many stories. Time to open the cage door and let them fly!

  8. I love this story. I couldn’t imagine not being able to get my words out. I hope that your mom finds her ‘voice’ and continues writing. Kudos to encouraging her!

  9. This is a beautiful story, Carrie. The description of that journal, sitting unused amongst the plants, really stuck with me. There is such a sadness here for me, reading this. As you know, watching my own my mother age is very hard for me. It’s like we’re watching them fade. I hate that. I hate that your mom is losing her words and her voice. I hope she finds them again in writing. She’s so lucky to have you for a daughter. So very, very lucky.

  10. Carrie, what a beautifully written story. I can feel both your frustration and your determination through your words, and even though I don’t know you, it is through these emotional threads that I can tell how much you love your mom. Thanks for sharing!

  11. You have such a deep message for all of us in your words. How powerful it would be to have our parents’ “voice” on paper to cherish forever. You’re making me think that this act of writing that we are a part of here is my voice for my children to have someday.

  12. Carrie, you are so patient and kind with your mom. You don’t push too much. You just gently remind and let ideas linger until she finds the value. Then, you are ready with on-the-spot support. I admire your grace.

  13. What a beautiful piece…I love how you share your love of writing with your mom and encourage her to do the same. I hope your mom takes advantage of her new journal and fills each page with all of the wonderful things she has to share.

  14. As I was reading this piece, all I could think about was perseverance. You never gave up on the idea that your mom would journal her thoughts, and you kept trying. She is so lucky that you are there, pushing her, and being able to celebrate these times! I love this slice!

  15. Such a beautifully written story, Carrie. It’s such a subtle thing, but your reference to the journal as “that thing” really captures your mother’s distaste of the journal and the seeming hopelessness of the situation. That and your description of how you always found the journal in the plant room, set the story up for a great ending.

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