When my little brother, Todd, started talking as a toddler, he couldn't say my name because he couldn't say the "L." So he called me "Seesa." It only lasted a short time, but my parents found it adorable. Throughout my childhood, my Mom would affectionately call me "Seesa" sometimes. I haven't heard it or even thought about it in years.
Then two weeks ago, I flew down to Alabama to visit my dad and check on my mom. Her condition over the last six months has remained unchanged. She is wheelchair and bed-bound. She's lost her speech and depends on her caregivers to literally do everything for her. Most days, she sits with her eyes shut. Lost in the abyss of her disease. The day I arrived in Alabama, I found her in that condition. She opened her eyes for just a moment, but looked right through me. She didn't recognize my face. Of course it broke my heart.
But the next day as I leaned into her face, my dad whispered, "Seesa's here." My mom's eyes opened, she looked at me, and she laughed. A few more times that day, I would lean over and say, "Mommy, it's Seesa." Each time, she opened her eyes and then smiled at me. My voice--and my dad's--reached down deep into the recesses of her memory and snagged a tiny piece of her. Her dementia has smothered her almost entirely, but pieces still exist. Floating around in her darkness. And familiar voices combined with a word anchored in love reached her.
Last night, I wanted to give up on my writing dream. The chaos of life with young children and a busy husband loomed over me, shadowing my dream of getting published. It often feels like a painful exercise in futility. But then my fingers touch the keyboard and the words flow. Despite my focus on the business side of this endeavor, I am reminded of why I began the journey in the first place. Writing has always been, above all else, my catharsis. My love of words and the comfortable familiarity of the solitude reach deep inside of me and pull my fears, my pain, my frustration, and my joy from where I've buried them. Writing reaches into me and brings light to my eyes. Reminding me of who I actually am.