Sunday, August 4, 2013

For Lisa - Redemption's Song

This started with you.

This outpouring of support and love for people struggling everywhere.
It has your name all over it.

There are times that I can't believe that two weeks ago I didn't even know your name and I now I feel as though we'll be connected for a lifetime.

I never met you.
Never heard your voice or locked eyes with yours.
Never heard your laugh or watched you play with your babies.
But now we are joined and your name just rolls off my lips.

If it started with you, it needs to finish with you.
And so I find myself writing to you again - hoping you'll know that light has come to dark places.

When I wrote you a letter last week, I didn't know so many people would want to echo the very words I wrote.  I didn't know that thousands of women and men would read those words and want to join in the chorus of saying, "we know you loved them".

When I stood and looked out at the nearly 300 people who gathered at The Forks on Thursday night, it took my breath away.

There were lots of moms there, Lisa.  It made me smile to see toddlers running around on the grass in front of me making noise and being silly.  I thought you would have liked to have seen that kind of life spilling over and out.  There were moms holding babies close and others holding the hands of their big kids.  Some of the moms brought their teenage girls along and I was so thankful.  Those girls are so close to being moms too.  They need to hear the message you've sent.  They need to know mental illness is a battle that can find anyone.

There were dads there too.  Some of them sat alone.  Others with their arms around women who were overcome with tears and sadness.  Some of them held hands of babies and toddlers and ushered them in toward a message of hope.  I think you would have loved seeing that.

When the procession made it's way down toward the river, with arms holding white blooms and blossoms, it was impossible to not know it was sacred ground we were standing on.
I watched that line from on top,  and with each flower thrown, the white spilled into the darkness.  Beauty infiltrated sorrow.

But the real power came on the way up, Lisa.
There were so many tears.
There were arms supporting and surrounding.
And when it was all over there were stories.

There were stories that had never been told before.
It felt like I had been given the honor of being offered the richest of deposits.
Those tears brought the words,
    and the words brought the light,
       and the light pushed back the shame,
           and the absence of shame brought some healing.

I wonder what you would have thought and felt, if you had been there...
If you had been able to be a witness to those stories and those first moments of exposing secrets and shame that had been hidden for forever.
There was light in dark places on Thursday night.

Lisa, your name doesn't stand for tragic deaths -  not in my mind.
In my mind it stands for hope.
     That change is coming.
     That people are beginning to talk and ask for help.
     That where there is great light, there is great healing.

I am honored to be connected to your name.
Your fight is mine.
For Nicholas and Anna, I'll keep going.
For you, and with the 300 compassionate and generous souls who stood with me on sacred ground.
There is hope, Lisa.
That has to be redemption's song.

Be at peace.

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