My friend is whispering into the phone.
“You’re making miracles,” he tells me.
“I know,” I whisper back. “I know we are.”
I’d told him what happened during Christmas 2013.
The second wife of one of my cousins, Patti, told my mother: “I’m going to interview you. I want to know the family traditions.”
Patti meant German Chocolate Cake and my grandmother’s chicken and dumplings. She meant funny stories about drunk men and wild horses, about square dances and home made peach ice cream. She meant persimmon wine and Pinochle. Patti wanted to hear the legends of worn out feuds and the origins of nick names.
My Mother agreed to an interview and I left her to this task as I went on to see other relatives at other parties.
A few days later my Mother tells me: “When Patti asked me about the family, I told her the truth.”
“You did,” I said. It was a statement, not a question.
I never knew my grandfather, but I remember the day my mother took his photographs down from the wall. I was eighteen and their absence left thin, dark lines on the rose colored walls until the blank spaces were filled in with enlargements of family dogs past and present.
In a few sentences and an offhanded tone my mother told me what she had revealed on Christmas Eve.
I suppose I would have been shocked if I were someone else. But I have made my way through the dark enough times to know there is plenty of it surrounding any life.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Everybody got real quiet,” she said.
“And?” I asked.
“They were nodding, some of them were nodding,” she said.
“They listened,” she shrugged.
“Mom,” I said. “That’s beautiful. That’s amazing. I’m so glad you did that.”
“Yeah,” she said. “You know, the other day, I was talking to the pets and they said: We all have PTSD. Michelle does. You do. We all do,” she said.
“I’m so glad you told, Mom.”
“It was bad with him, my father, it was really bad.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I get it. I know.”
I’d been telling the dark tales of my own father for a few years.
“You’re the reason I did it. I got it from you,” she said.
My mother rises to let the pets back in the house; she shakes off our conversation and the sun drops into a blushing coral horizon already settled down behind her Begonias and Bromelia.
I tell this story to my friend over the phone, I tell him: “Something moved. Something, somewhere, it changed. Something we can’t see. It changed. It moved.”
“You’re making miracles,” he whispered.
“I know,” I whispered back, “I know we are.”
Every act of truth telling is repair.
Every truth repairs something in the places we will one day be.
Truth telling is creation. It makes the future in the places we will one day be.
Our stories are sacred. And their telling moves something out of the way for a person we will one day be. For a person we already love.
For this reason I decide today, right now, to dedicate my last acts to what is worthy and true. My last word will be deeply kind. My last thought will heal something I never knew needed healing until just that moment, the last moment, and I will seize the opportunity of it. My last act will repair something in the places I will one day be.
Be Wisdom. Be Courage. Be Healed. It Matters. I Promise. xxo