I have not done half as much writing as I had anticipated this trip. I saw myself staying up late at night, pecking away at the keyboard of my laptop until my eyes couldn’t keep themselves open a second longer. I saw myself hammering out a few chapters by the end of the week.
That didn’t happen.
What did happen was I bonded with my mother in a way we never have before. For anyone who has never experienced a trauma – the concept of triggers might seem foreign or silly. People will sometimes tell you to move on, let it go, forget about it. But triggers are tricky, and not something you can just move on from and forget about. Sometimes you think you’ve cleared all the demons, all the things that haunt you. I’ve had things trigger me that surprised me.
I triggered my mom, on accident, or unwittingly I should say. She shut herself in her room and cried for awhile before coming out to talk to me.
What happened was a conversation that brought us closer. I won’t share her story. It’s not mine to share. But she had a rough, rough, rough upbringing. There were things I knew, but not the depth to which she shared with me. Things she’s never told anyone, not even therapists she’s seen to work on other things from her childhood. In turn, I shared things with her that I’d never told her – mostly to protect her from being upset or feeling like she failed to protect me somehow.
We cried, we hugged and we talked openly. I shared poetry about these things with her and we talked about how she could work on “letting go” a bit.
Survivors is what we are. And I know there are other sisters and brothers in the survivor family with us. I met one today.
I’ve always hated the phrase “it’s a small world”. I don’t know why. It just bothers me. It’s a huge world! Yet time and time again, I am reminded that it is indeed a small world – and the connectors are sometimes awe-inspiring.
I live in Walla Walla, Washington and I am currently visiting a tiny town called Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Last year when I came here I had forgotten to get my co-workers some salt water taffy. Today we headed out into town, visiting some local shops for knick-knacks, t-shirts, coffee and ice cream. At the last minute I spotted a little candy shop and sure enough, they had local salt water taffy. I bought quite a bit and explained to the woman that the last trip here I had forgotten to bring some back. She said that was nice of me and asked where I was from. “Walla Walla,” I told her. Her eyes lit up and she said, “Oh, I love Walla Walla. I grew up in Yakima.” I’m pretty sure my eyes lit up and I smiled and told her I had grown up in Yakima.
We got to talking about our age, and schools we had attended and for some reason, I brought up my mom and her name and where she worked. She knew my mom from her work.
I won’t share this woman’s story. It’s not mine to tell. What I can tell you is that I felt blessed that she shared it with me. The hairs on my arms stood up. I cried. We were bonded you see. Survivor sisters.
I believe in fate. I believe in connections and paths. I don’t know why I went into that shop. There was taffy at the ice cream store. I don’t know why I shared my age and city and mother’s name with her. I don’t know why she decided to share such intimate and personal information with me. I know that I was supposed to cross her path. And I know that it was fate that it happened after that intense night with my mom. I know that fate has made me cross paths with other sisters and brothers.
It’s a small world, and perhaps I should embrace it.