What would it be like if I could read all the many letters I have written through the years? I rarely correspond through hand-written letters anymore but at one time they were chronicles of my life.
I wrote them to my mother when I was a teenager from my aunt’s home, my mom’s sister and her nine children, escaping 1000 miles away from a father who most of the times terrified me. I wrote to friends as I made my many solo journeys across the country---searching for adventures but really, I was lost, I was looking for a home, a safe place, I was searching for a me that I could only hope I would meet somewhere.
I wrote in-depth missives of beauty and angst when I lived in Northern California, in the coastal town called Trinidad, 100 miles south of the Oregon border where my feet where never dry, my hands always cold and my heart bursting because I was in love with a professional cellist who was breaking my heart a splinter at a time, masking the pain so creatively that I thought it was his way of serenading me. I wrote on the long train ride from San Francisco to New Jersey where I needed to land to extract the splinters that had become too many for my heart to bear.
I wrote through the drugs, alcohol, sex, and fears that permeated my days and the dark nights of my soul.
There were the lean years that were so filled with children and the daily grind that writing a letter trying to describe the life I was living, required too much honesty, revealing what I could not bear to see for fear of what I would need to face. There were the few letters that told the end of my 20-year marriage when the truth could no longer be hidden and a different kind of journey in my life began.
There were the letters of love in my early, long distance relationship with my new beloved and though the phone was a constant, so much more could be expressed on a page then in my vulnerable voice. These were the letters that made us solid and whole.
I see my hand on envelopes pushing forward into mailbox slots, trusting that my thoughts, that my life was safely contained within, traveling on to someone that could hold them for me.
Where are those words? What would they say to me now?
hérèse Hak-Kuhn is a mother of six incredible human beings and an activist in birth and social justice issues. She has been honored to help so many to enter into this world and to walk with those who have left this realm, the profound similarities informing her own existence. She has written many books, all in her head. She loves her life and that it has offered her, which is a a hell of a lot.