In my kitchen window sits a dried out yellow rose. When I see it, I think of the song Twinkle, Twinkle. When I think of Twinkle, Twinkle, I feel brave and scared and confused and happy all at once. So what power does this dried out yellow rose hold that it can make me feel so many different things?
When Mermaid was little she didn’t sleep well. We would have to rock her for hours upon hours. I use to pace the house singing Twinkle, Twinkle. I can recall so many nights in her room just swaying and singing, the window in her room sits at just the right spot to bring in a smidge of the moonlight that would glow as we sang. When she had her biopsy I held her down and sang Twinkle, Twinkle. She still occasionally asks for it, only now, she can sing it with me, and it’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard.
An old friend of mine is currently in jail after being accused of a pretty horrific crime. The details are not important at this point in time, maybe another day down the road when the trial is complete she will choose to tell her story, until then, the details hold no weight in my purpose of this connection. She has a school-age daughter and through our entire friendship I always respected what a good Mother she was. She was so fun, full of life and always talking about her little angel. In recent years she had another child and despite our distance, I can only imagine she was an equally amazing Mother to them as well.
When I originally saw the newscast of her being arrested I was in shock, I went to our old group of friends looking for their reactions and almost felt numb. She was released for a short time in which I got to touch base with her but then she was re-arrested and has been incarcerated ever since. The person I knew, in no way, shape or form, had the ability to commit this crime. People all around me were telling me that “people break” they ” do things we would never expect”, one person told me she wouldn’t be there “If they didn’t have the evidence to prove it.” Yet I have still NEVER been convinced. Her first hearing was coming up and I asked multiple people to join me, I needed to see her face to face. I felt like it would give me a better feeling of what happened. In the end nobody came and I went alone. I don’t know what I was hoping for, I knew it was just a hearing with basic information, I expected it to last 10 minutes, I assumed there would be others on the docket, a room full of people where I would have simply blended in and I would have arranged my whole morning off to leave just as confused.
As I entered the court room I stalled. The entire thing was empty. Just then a lawyer walked in and asked me if I was there for that specific case, I said yes, and he assured me I was in the right place, then he left the room. 15 minutes until start time, nobody there. 10 minutes until start time, nobody there. I text a mutual friend explaining how odd the whole experience was, 5 minutes until start time… I hear someone behind a closed door state that she has arrived. I got butterflies, my palms were sweating, Why was I the ONLY person in this room? There she was, walked in by an officer, placed in a chair in shackles, just her, an officer and I. She had no idea I was coming, how could she, we had not had any contact since the night she was arrested for a second time. She looked beautiful, as usual. How she managed to pull off looking like she had make-up on is beside me, but she did. She whispered to me “Thank you for coming” asked about my Mermaid and told me she loved me.
As her lawyer entered the room and we were now passed starting time they spoke so quietly to one another I couldn’t hear what was happening. I then saw her lawyer pull out 2 round white buttons, a button I recognized. It was the voice box for a build-a-bear. She had two of them. In a silent court room, much like Mermaid’s room all those nights I walked and swayed singing Twinkle, Twinkle – she began to sing into them. One “You are my sunshine” and the other… you guessed it, “Twinkle, Twinkle.” I cant even begin to tell you the level emotion that took over. I sat there crying, watching this fellow Mother, friend, human being, sing her children lullabies into voice boxes so they wouldn’t forget her.
Court began. She was confident, brave and it was over. Until the real deal a few months away that is. As it ended her family showed up. They had been misinformed of the time and missed the entire thing. They arrived with enough time to sit down and be asked to leave. The lawyers finished up a few conversations and I waited in the hallway with the family. They shared positive information with me and her Mom asked that I stick around a few minutes for a picture outside.
Outside of the courthouse we were all given a yellow rose. We took a picture holding it and her Mom intended to send it to her to show her our support. I thanked her Mom, hugged her, and left.
When I made it to my car to leave I couldn’t go directly to work, I was on the verge of losing it, I was holding in so much. Instead, I drove to a nearby park on the river, put my car in park, the rose on my dash, and sobbed. So many lives have been effected by this terrible tragedy, two children are without their Mother, while my friend’s Mother watches her own babies life unfold, helpless, just clinging to hope. The echoes of her voice singing into the voice boxes ran through my head over and over. I cried until I had nothing left. I fixed myself up, and left. Nobody at work would know what my morning had been like. None of the patients would even begin to guess the despair I was feeling only an hour ago. The people I returned emails too would think it was a normal day, but it wasn’t.
I believe everything happens for a reason. We may not know the reasoning behind my friend’s story just yet, but I believe I was meant to be in that room, alone, with my friend, while she sang to her babies. I believe I was meant to have those few small moments to see and know that the person I knew, was still the person I knew. Call it what you will, I felt in that moment, as she sang so peacefully that my soul knew she would one day walk free.
That night I held Mermaid a little tighter, and sang her Twinkle,Twinkle.
The rose sits in my kitchen in the same vase I placed it in that day so long ago. It is dried perfectly and reminds me daily of someone else’s struggles.
Mermaid’s disease is harder on me than it is on her at this point in our lives. Our journey right now is about learning to cope with what life has given us. Throughout our path I have felt sad, anxious and nervous. Some of that I have overcome, some of that, I haven’t, but much like my friend, I have no idea what our future holds at this point in time. What I do know, is that something inside me, something strong, tells me that we are all going to be just fine. I think about my friend’s little girl pushing that bears hand and it singing to her, offering her comfort, just as it does for my Mermaid when I sing it to her. Our struggles, be them big, or small, lead us to find little rays of sunshine, small glimmers of hope that give us peace in merky waters. I believe Mermaid and I are on the path we were destined to be on, that she was given her disease to rise above and prove that being unique makes you shine.
Twinkle: shine with a gleam that varies repeatedly between bright and faint.
To my friend, may you ever see this, and all our fellow nevus owners, continue to twinkle.
Thanks for walking with us today,