By Hand

Cousin poem 1988

written by Heidi L. Paulec

While he was bright, brilliant and articulate, I’m fairly certain Jamie did not create, but rather copied this poem for my 14th birthday.

Also soft spoken, he quite likely would shy away from here… this world wide web…  Wondering why am I sharing?  The compassion, that, he would likely endorse.  So, I proceed.  In a time shrouded by impersonal fonts and white, shiny screens, what still means the most?  … I’m not sure about you, but to me… anything by hand.  Letters, lunch, lace, and lanais (shout-out to my boys!), I still appreciate the work behind the work all so much more because I know someone paused to create, or in this case- copy,  by hand.

A troubling truth of this poem lies in the last line, “A part of my life, my cousin, you’ll always be special to me!”  I was part of his whole life (minus the first seven weeks).  However, while he was part of mine for only 17 years.  I have now lived nearly 25 years without him.

During the first two or three years without him, I wondered if I could make it without him.  Not because I felt suicidal, but isolation introduced me to a loneliness and troubling uncertainty I had never known.

Not the isolation that literally hides away… I fulfilled my leadership duties as an officer of my high school varsity dance team.  I went on to college (and be the first young woman in our family to graduate), participated in Student Government Association and cross-cultural experiences, and made hilarious and deeply thoughtful memories with dear friends.  No, this isolation is more a gnawing of mind and emotion conflicted in the quest to balance the past, be in the present, and yearn for a future.

“The pains and struggles we encounter in our solitude thus become the way to hope because our hope is not based on something that will happen after our sufferings are over, but on the real presence of God’s healing Spirit in the midst of those sufferings.”

Henri Noumen    Making All Things New 

…and the moments in between…


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