This post is different, it is a memory, a letter full of thoughts that I wish I would have known when I was younger. A letter, if possible would go back in time, addressed to myself at the age of 7, to be received on May 7th, 1999 as a plea of preparation, words of wisdom and thing that perhaps would change my reactions to life. Sharing insight on things that shatter my life, sharing encouragement, hope and understanding.
Dear Princess Sara at the age of 7, (Soon you will outgrow that title, but it will still always make you smile.)
I know that you are busy being a damsel in distress, playing in your playhouse and longing for the day your prince will come, but I want to interrupt that fairy tale moment, I want you to read the words I write, to remember them in times to come, in hopes that they will bring ease and comfort, wonder and excitement and that you will always remember the important things. Sara, I know you think you have it all, a perfect family, many exciting adventures, a great school complete with friends and the world wrapped around your perfect little finger, but your bubbles will burst in time, people will let you down, things will fall apart and it will get harder, but I will let you in on a secret: you will get through it, you will grow, you will become stronger and you will be ruined for the ordinary, but it will all worth it, I promise.
Sara, there is going to be a life shaking event in your life, it will hit you hard and hurt a lot, leaving you with holes and pains that are unimaginable, but do not be afraid. Everything you think is perfect will come crashing down, you won’t understand why for several years, and you will live feeling sorry for yourself, but you will, in time see it piece back together, you will understand and you will grow up. Your idea of a perfect life, with your perfect famous parents, your spoiled life and your world so perfectly held in your hands will be ruined, but replaced with the opportunity to make differences. You will shed many tears, you will even yell at Daddy and see that brave man cry, and you will be upset, all of that is okay, remember that you don’t have to have it all together, you’re 7, a child and what will happen will be painful. This life shattering event changed me, grew me and I came out stronger because of it, you will to as well, for I am merely you.
I want you to understand how important memories are, cherish the time you have with the people that both you and I hold so dear, Mommy and Daddy love you more than you have ever understood. Mommy’s love for you, for us has been selfless, pure and unconditional. Yes, I know your upset from the time she put you in the corner for touching Daddy’s bass after she clearly told you to not, but you will move past that. Besides they rarely ever punish you, standing in the corner for 5 minutes will not hurt you. Mommy would give you the world if she could, she has done things to protect you and to show you love. I know it will take you many years to realize how selfless she is. Sara, you need to hold your memories close, for both of us, we need them to get through. Remember the things like singing on stage with Mommy, or going camping at Fish Lake, most of all don’t forget the important things, the things they taught you, the values they shared, never giving up, what respect and love is and how they go hand in hand.
One day soon when your world crashes down on you and your life spirals out of control, causing chaos in your perfect life, leaving wounds deeper than a band-aid can heal and holes in your innocent heart, I want you to remember that it is only part of the journey. Just as Alice fell through the rabbit hole, you too will fall for what feels forever and hit the ground in a place unknown, a place un-perfect, landing in your own Wonderland, with the pieces of your life falling around you at your feet. You are not alone, trust me, you never are, even when it feels like no one knows what you’re going through, they do, they care and they want to help. Besides God is there waiting for you to reach out to Him. It will be Him that gets you through so you might as well accept His help and spare yourself the depression and anger.
After that perfect world of yours shatters, the gifts, the prayers and the kind words spoken by so many will give you comfort, but true comfort will only come from God. I know you will think you can do it on your own, that you can be the adult, that you can take care of things, but you’re a child, you’re hurting and you’re a fantastic actress, remember to let people in, to see you vulnerable. Never forget your perfect world that you once had, and as I said remember Mom, this will be your strength when you want to give up.
Chaos will strike, dreams and wishes will fall to the ground and your perfect life will change forever. You know she is sick, you know that she has the scary word, cancer, that she is fighting. She will fight, but only for so long, Mom will go, she will be gone and living with Jesus, there will be no more pain, no more chemo and radiation wreaking havoc on her fragile body, she will be cancer free and singing to her Savior, her life will be perfect. She will be gone, you will scream many nights after at Dad, saying you want her to tuck you in and not him, you will watch him fall to the ground in tears night after night and cry, broken-hearted for his wife. As you wait to for your ride before school you will stare at the window where she stand, hoping she will appear, but Sara she never will. You will compare every woman Dad brings home to her, building up resentment and bitterness in your heart. Sara, understand that her leaving, is the journey. Cherish the moments and memories be for its too late. One day you will return from school and see Dad, home from the hospital and he will pull you onto his lap and say those words you have been dreading, “Sara, Mom’s gone.” You will choose to not understand, but you won’t be able to hide forever.
I know that you will feel that you have it under control, that you can be the adult and make everything go smoothly, and you do try to, but you are a child. Sara, realize there is nothing you can or could do to save her, to stop the cancer, there is nothing you could do to fix Dad’s drinking. I know you will place a high bar to live up to in your life, to be like her and to put every piece of your broken perfect life back together, but it will never work. Things change and they will continue to and that is the next step of the journey.
To get through, remember the good things, the memories and her love. You will get through, I promise. Be strong and have courage, you will not be alone, God will be with you every step of the way, even when you try to do it on your own. He will answer your prayers in ways you never understood. Things will get worse before they get better. Sara, Daddy is our father, he loves us, but he will become more and more sick, I know you will want to protect him, defend him and keep him safe, but there will come a time when you no longer can do that, and that is okay. Mom never wanted that to be your job, she wanted you to be a child, so slow down, enjoy your child and remember you will survive. God will give you a slightly chaotic, and imperfectly perfect new family complete will all the brothers and sisters you have been praying for. He has already set this plan into motion.
Another important thing to know is that there will be a time when all you do is feel sorry for yourself, living in denial and as a victim and orphan. It will take you a while to realize, but you will have a new family, full of people who love you, care for you and that will champion you on. You will be in a new town, a new school with new friends, but you will still be you. You will make stupid choices and look for love and acceptance where there is none, making friends with people who only hurt you and you will act like a completely different person by pushing everyone out and hating God. Yes, you will be hurting, there will be holes and pains that won’t heal for years and you will hide under your fake smiles and lies. You will lie to people you love and hurt those that care about you. Your new family, the Beaumont’s, yes the ones that you adore, they become your family, they love you, they will see you hurting and you just need to let them in.
Sara, I know right now with Mommy, you go to church and you love Jesus but you will need Him in the years to come, He will be there for you and He will love you and want to heal you, but you will run away until a moment when everything crashes down and you fall to pieces in your bathroom when you let Him in. There will be years where you will be depressed, angry and bitter, not wanting to life and blaming God for every terrible thing in your life. Yes, I know you can’t imagine that right now in your perfect world, but you will blame God for Mommy not being healed, for Daddy’s drinking and you will hate Him because admitting the truth means it reality. You will also blame yourself for her death, that Daddy drinks because of you and that you are worthless, but that is so far from the truth. God will be the only thing that will get you through life. Trust me, I know. If I told you where you will go in life, you would laugh with disbelief.
With everything you will go through, I want to let you know we come out on the other side, we will have grown, we will have learned, and we will have survived. I know your 7-year-old-self will never truly understand this letter, but the 21-year-old me, wishes I had read this, I would have known not to be afraid of reality, that the pieces of life would eventually fall back into place, even if they were slightly different. I would have understood, or at least tried to that it is not my job to have everything perfect. I would have known it would all be okay, even if at the moment all my dreams and shooting star wishes could never come true. I would have known that with pain and hurt comes healing and change, leaving scars of beauty and growth. I would have known that memories were more precious than gold and that Mommy’s love would be my strength and the only thing I could cling to. I would have known to remember her, her beauty, her voice, her laughter and her grace. I would have known that this hard piece of the journey, would be hard but I am not alone. I would have known God was waiting for me, to be there for me, to save me. I would have known when thing got chaotic thing that it was okay to let people in and be real and vulnerable. I would have known that Mom’s death would shake my world, but that God would catch the pieces. You will be strong, like Mulan, brave like Wendy Darling in Peter Pan, you will survive like Alice and I promise even when things feel completely hopeless you will truly be a princess from the inside out.
Sara, today is Mommy’s last birthday here on earth with you. Make it special, tell her you love you, share moments with her and let her know that we will be okay. Create memories and give her a perfect day, because being here 14-years later all I want is to tell her I love her, celebrate her birthday and create memories. You have time before she leaves us, enjoy it, live in it and love every moment of it.
Wish her a Happy 56th Birthday for me, yes I know with you it is only 42 but here its 56. She still will be our inspiration, her legacy will live on through us and we will make her proud. Her love will be an encouragement to us and the more we continue to learn about her in years after will inspire us to be like her.Let her know that you grow up to be a young woman who clings to God, dreams big and longs to change the world. I am sitting here on the adventures of a lifetime, celebrating her 56th birthday, missing her soothing voice, her hands wiping away tears and fixing the hurt, missing her. She changed our lives in ways she never even knows and I know that you will get through the next 14 years amazed that you did it, but we did it because we are silent fighter, we are survivors, we did it because we are her daughter.
So if she sees this letter, which knowing my 7-year-old-self who struggles to read, I know you have given it to her to read to you, so I know she will know that I still love her, that not a day goes by without her in my thoughts and that I am proud of her. Tell her I am so thankful for teaching me and showing me what unconditional, selfless love is, for teaching me the importance or trust and how to hold myself up when all I want to do is fall, and for the importance of God she placed in my life. Tell her I say “Happy Birthday” and let her know I will take care of her little girl, I will make her proud and I will be okay.