Medicine takes many shapes and many forms. In my own life, I have found that my greatest tools for self-healing have long been meditation and writing. When I lost my baby 5 months into my pregnancy, it was writing that saved me. It was writing that gave me a place to make meaning of the meaningless. To create a purpose when I had none. To see beauty in a long pause of bleakness and despair.
Sometimes I go back to old writings and reread them. To see where I've been, to see how far I've come. Grieving is not a linear process. One counselor I spoke to said to me, "the only way out is through". It was my daily ritual of writing that got me through the heaviest parts of grief. My daily ritual of writing continues to be my medicine.
Here is something I wrote last summer. And still, the fireflies continue to illuminate my imagination.
With love, Rachel
I've written hundreds and hundreds of poems
in my head.
Never writing down a single word,
the poems burn like paper set fire.
All that remains are the ashes, they sweep
through my mind replaced only by longing
for what could have been.
Imagine, if you will, a glass jar filled with hundreds and hundreds of glowing fireflies.
The lid, now, cracked open.
The lighted fliers each like a whole and complete poem.
After years of catching fireflies only in your mind,
now you have a net.
And like a ravenous hunter you swipe and slosh around with your net,
trying desperately to catch each one
as if your life depended
on its light.
As if each firefly was indeed a poem
you’d written then lost.
And now, you have one chance
to collect and carry off as many sacred elements of beauty, of hope, of love
that you ever dared.