“I was alone.”
by Chet Buckley
“Alone, Not Alone”
Fiction. Based on a True Set of Experiences
by Leanna Glenn Markham
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
In my life I have seldom been alone. Yet I’ve felt alone since the beginning. Since the doctor held my infant shoulders and looked unsmiling at my newborn face. I saw him, though a blanket shielded one of my eyes. Felt alone when I got twisted on our stairs and knew not to cry out because no one would come. So I tumbled all the way down. An injury unfelt in body, but in spirit. I was alone when I got home from kindergarten and no one answered the door, and I stood weeping on the front porch.
In reality, no one was too far away. But I didn’t know it. Didn’t feel it. As I grew up in a crowded house, I felt alone, and different, not wanting to be angry.
Yet I searched for solitary space so I could think, and more importantly, cry. The latter required the dead of night, and a good, sound-muffling pillow. I probably never had a moment alone in that house till one Thanksgiving, when my dad and siblings went out with his wife-to-be to celebrate. I grieved and relished the headache that kept me home.
Little one, you’ve never been alone, from the moment I merged sperm and egg in your mother, to the glorious day you emerged from the womb, designed, kit together, red and raw. You were surrounded, embraced by My presence. Did you know that? Did you know, little one, that as you wrestled on the stairs, you could have cried out? Did you know that My hands caught you at the bottom? Did you know that I cradled your head then and always? That my angels always stayed close?
Did you know, kindergarten girl, that you were loved and not forgotten by your mother who ran two doors down hoping to return before you did? That she wanted to see you?
Did you know that when you thought, that in the crowd at home, no one at all saw you, that you didn’t matter, that I saw you, treasured your pain, and caught your stifled tears in my bottle?
Did you know that when you walked alone that last leg to school and back home, that you had company, within and alongside you? That I called to you in the rustling leaves that autumn day? That I loved how you left confetti and leaves in your hair as you walked?
Did you know that I understand how it is not to feel at home when at home? That not one moment of your isolation, real, self-imposed, or imagined escaped my compassionate eye? That My hands still held your shoulders, that My face was not unsmiling, but looking into your eyes, your soul, into the moment, into all your moments, as I blanketed you with my love?
You could not know this, but I still send my whispers to you in the rustle of the leaves. In those spaces of solitude you crave and dread. You may not always hear my whispers, but I am here. My hands are large enough to hold your universe and small enough to cup you.