Gran's Apple Butter Blog

July 26, 2010

1/II: Mikale Steps In

Filed under: Going Home,Grandma,Life Journeys,Loss,Mikey,Self Development — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 3:24 pm

Mikale Steps In
Excerpt from Going Home, by Mary Batson

Mikey remembering home: That’s how the story began in the manuscript I’d found among my grandmother’s papers. And yet, when I lifted the flap to peer inside the envelope, seeing the typewritten pages, I realized I wasn’t ready for what was inside. Even without knowing what the words said, something inside me gave a shudder. I could feel a twisting in my soul, a stab of pain so deep it felt like my heart might split open, exposing what was left inside to a world that would mock it, searing its scars all the more deeply. Not now. Too soon. Whatever it was, I didn’t want to know.

And that was enough. I closed the envelope, careful to fold it along the original creases that Gran had made, and put it back in the box, secure in the not-knowing, feeling the clamor calm within, my heart rate returning to normal and the knot in my stomach loosening a hair’s width. That was then.

And now, what now? It’s been just over a year. And here I sit, surrounded by pages, tears streaming down my face, heart raw inside. Where has the time gone? The feeling? The knowing? HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN? Breathe with your belly, as one of my dearest friends often tells me, breathe with your belly. Ok, girl, I’m trying. I’m really trying. In and out, in and out,  warm inside, flooding through, don’t hold the emotion, don’t attach to it, sit back and watch it do its dance, let it through, let it go, relax into the feeling, and just let      it      go.

Now. Deep breath. Back to center. Turn to page one again, and start reading, again.

Three times I’ve read these pages today. Three times the flood of emotions has threatened to overwhelm me, even now. Sometimes I start to pat myself on the back, thinking how far I’ve come on all this. Good for me, I want to say. And then something like this comes along and knocks me completely off my feet, if only for a moment, and it reminds me that I still have so far to go. I have come far, my journey has been long. And yet as I read these pages I begin to realize that all that time, all those years, I was walking in a circle. Today, reading, I find myself lost in a mix of wonder and sorrow because I realize that in all my wandering, when I finally look up and see that I Am Where I Always Wanted to Be, as Mikey would put it, that my footsteps have, slowly but surely, simply led me ’round the world — and I find myself once more where I stood many years ago — on the front steps of my home, hand on the doorknob, ready to go inside. If only, if only, if only. Too many ifs. How might things have been different, if I’d only seen what I see now? And yet, I realize that wasn’t possible. It was only by stepping away long and far enough to be able to get a broad view – the whole forest – that I could begin to see and feel clearly enough to come back to the same spot where I was before, and see it for the reflected glory that it truly was.

What a journey. The more I think about it, the more it amazes me, and the more I understand the words of the letter clipped to the manuscript. As my tears ran through the ink, I read aloud, Gran’s voice echoing in my head, her message soothing my heart.

                                                                                                    January 1976  

Dear Mikey,

By the time you find these pages, you’ll be ready to finish our book.

I know you want to DO IT NOW — you’ve reminded me of that several times, obviously unhappy with my decision to put our story away for now. But Mikey, you have so much still to experience in life, so much to learn about being a mere mortal. I can tell you this now, with the surety of my own years, my own journey. I know you remember a lot about Home, and I love that — I love to see your eyes brighten and sparkle as you remember, and I love to watch you struggle to come up with words to describe what you feel in your heart, your soul.

But there will come a time when this will mean so much more to you, when you will begin to understand on such a completely different level. Until you have experienced loss, until you have experienced the longing that comes when you fear that you can no longer go home, not even to yourself, until then, you won’t be ready to finish this work. By the time you are, I will be long since gone. I know this, sure as I know the geese will return to our little pond next April. And you’ll understand why I’m putting these pages away now, sweet little Mikey. I love you, precious girl. Love everybody and they will love you.

I’ll never forget our afternoons together on the front porch, sharing our thoughts of home. They brought a joy that I hope will heal your heart as you read these pages and begin their completion. And now, my budding authoress and lover of words: WRITE.

With all the hugs our years could hold,

You’re right, Gran — I feel the joy. It seems bittersweet, and ironic, as I sit here smiling through my tears. You were right all along. And now, to pick up a pen — to write.


© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
Download Chapter 1 or order your copy at!


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