The girls got shots this week.
Their band-aids were pink camouflage and yellow crayon, but that didn’t make them easier to remove. Lucy, who is curious about blood and bodies, peeled hers gradually, imperceptibly, during library story time and when she was supposed to be setting the table, over the course of days, and finally peeled them all the way off.
Nora, though, has a strong memory for pain. Her legs hurt already. She knew it was going to hurt more, and she refused to let anyone touch the band-aids. “They’ll come off when they’re ready,” she declared, and her fierce eyes dared anyone to disagree. Even when one band-aid end caught on her skirt and pulled away, she defied anyone to help her pull it off and left the loose end flapping as she went about her life.
I know how she feels.
Last weekend, I had the chance to sit with other women who tell the truth and take some time to reflect on writing. Over tea and talk, I processed some of why I haven’t written much here over the last year. Next month will be a year since we lost my Gramp, closely followed by Gram, and then Grandmother in the summer. The tangled feelings seemed too complicated to write, but I couldn’t write anything else, either.
Being a writer who isn’t writing is like stuffing socks into a drawer that’s already overstuffed. I keep cramming them in there, even though it’s full to bursting, even though it won’t open all the way, even though I know that more socks will make the problem harder to fix later. I can’t afford the time or the patience or the fortitude it takes to open the drawer and set it right, so I shove a few more into the front and slam it shut until later.
“Later” is not some magical moment when we suddenly have what we need.
“Later” is just when we decide to act with what we have and rely on God for the rest.
Later, for me, is now.
It won’t be easy to write my way through what feels like a mountain of unprocessed grief, but I can’t afford to wait any longer. I’m pulling off the band-aid. I need to heal.