If I have lived up to the Gratitude of being entrusted with you,
You will learn all the ways to open your eyes to the ways of man.
Then one day, you will become conscious of the pain of your awareness.
You aren’t alone in experiencing a pain of this kind.
But you are unique, as each one is unique: this pain you feel
Cannot be held the exact same way by another as only you can hold it.
When you speak up for voices silenced:
When you stir stagnating waters of ignorance:
When you conduct yourself with courage and integrity:
You will earn a privilege open to all, accessed by few.
You will emerge with new sight,
You will gain new hopes and disappointments
You will trade old consciousness with new awareness.
Know that this is no solitary ember of the soul.
Find solace in knowing others have come before you,
And others will come after you, walking paths you have revealed.
Do not run away from the loneliness,
Or numb yourself from this illusory isolation.
You are not separate from that which you think you flee.
Give your new eyes time to adjust,
To calibrate, to show you companions
Who have been waiting for you all this time, in plain sight.
Little One, know that I wrote this at a time when I needed this the most. When you find these words and read them and need them, know that I am finding these words from within, and reading them and needing them — and in this, whether or not my body is still in this world — our hearts are connected.
There is a missing stanza that I cut out on purpose. (I’m sorry to say, I did not save all versions of the draft with this stanza.) The missing stanza was about how as a mother I’d instinctively want to swathe my arms around my child, summoning his pain unto me to spare him. But I know that this is a protective instinct I harbor as a mother; even if I could feel this pain in his place, this does not truly serve my child in the end. The best I can do is to be with him however I can and walk with him, but I cannot walk his path for him.