When I first began writing as a young girl I did it in observation of the world around me. I was always so excited to bring home those literary works of art to my Nana who ruled our household with a quick wit and a list full of proverbs designed to keep us all towing the line. I can hear her now, "The early bird catches the worm; don't put your cart before the horse; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!" Just one remark from her lit fires under our feet.
Nana's colorful sayings found their way into some of the most comical lines of my early writings. I always wanted to out do her. As I wrote I would think long and hard of an interesting characteristic of some barnyard animal to warp into a proverb of my own. Needless to say, my sayings made no sense; but to Nana, they were as golden as the beautiful poetry I spun about weeping willows, lakes and oceans. "You are going to be a fine writer some day," she'd tell me. Her confidence in me was mine as well
When I was 11, Nana died. I left home one morning and she was gone when I got home that afternoon. The loss haunted me. I couldn't wrap my young brain around such a thing as death. And no matter how I wrote about it, none of it made sense and I needed it to. I wanted it to. Eventually, with the passing of time I released and let out the earnest howls of a youngster who had lost her greatest champion. I sobbed for days.
There have been equally great losses since. My adoptive father died 21 years ago. My step mom, five years ago. And even as I write these words it is hard to say how heartfelt those losses were. Daddy's was so bad I resorted to all sorts of concoctions legal and illegal to put down the feelings, keep the water at bay. Cocaine became the finger in the dike. And I stuck it in there hard and kept the water from breaking. Eventually, it did and I was so much flotsam and jetsam adrift until I landed, dried out and began the steps needed to rebuild a life without Daddy. By the time my step mom died I had all of the faith and support I needed to float through the pain. Faith is a powerful thing.
As I have often written here it is the thing which helped me find my birth family. It is the single thing which I can honestly say made the difference between finding them and not three years ago. And now, now they too are gone.
Today marks a month anniversary of the death of my beloved birth mother, Rosalie Young. The day before yesterday marked the month anniversary of the death of my beloved birth father, Lloyd Young, Jr. III. They died two days apart and hard as I have tried, I couldn't seem to wrap my brain around their deaths either. I have cried in spurts like a leaking damn when I think to call Mom and tell her about a job interview or someone I ran into whom I hadn't seen in a while.
I've cried when I've thought about laying with my forehead touching Daddy's as he slowly succumbed to the COPD and arthritis which had held him hostage for the past 12 years or so of his life. And I cry openly when I think of my two beautiful sisters and two strong brothers who with me mourn these losses. And still, I can't seem to wrap my brain around it enough for the floodgates to open.
Life is strange. You think you've seen it all then something peculiar makes its way up the road and there it is. Today on the anniversary of my mom's death as I softly sobbed, I learned of the passing of a close friend from high school. I promised to see her when I was in town and well, frankly I just didn't make it. I can't even say why. Shortly after I returned home, she was diagnosed with leukemia. She fought a good fight for nine months, but died before I could get home again to see her. And today is the day the universe chose to share this information with me.
And then, the floodgates opened.
Robin G. White is an award-winning author and publisher who now resides in her hometown of Boston, MA. To find out more about Robin and her work visit: http://www.robingwhite.com/.