“We are set down in life as in the element to which we best correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we hold still we are, through a happy mimicry, scarecly to be distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terror, they are our terror; has it abyssess, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become that which we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall.”
Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
This evening I started clearing out a bottom drawer I’d too-long neglected. As the sun sunk slowly in the sky, I organised, and ruthlessly disposed of, many things. Amongst the lot, I found this letter on a homemade card. I almost missed it shuffled-in between some other papers and recovered it only a second or two before it would have ended up, unread, in the bin.
You’re 28, 3 months pregnant with twins and about to move back to Australia from New Zealand. You’re reading Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Right now, something tells you that you’ll have a boy and a girl although you won’t find out for another few weeks or more. The odds are against it. All you know is that they are non-identical. You worry about what you’ll do for work when the twins are born – after they have grown a bit- when you have the time and freedom to think about career. You are confused by which direction to take: Jewellery, Pilates, Writing or Naturopathy? International Relations just doesn’t make sense anymore. Your heart isn’t in it. You’ve read about and have been lucky enough to meet some inspiring people. You hope you end up being successful, one day, and have started collecting stories of those who’ve made it later on, over 30, not young. Coco Chanel was one. Remember that. You want to travel, of course; to live in Barcelona and Turkey, go back to France and one day, visit Canada and New York. You want an inspired, creative, fulfilling life. You are – despite the way things have unfolded thus far – ambitious. Don’t give up. There are things you won’t remember from this part of your early pregnancy because day-long morning sickness seems to blank everything out. And so, let me now remind you of these things: you were enamoured with the sight of Lilac and the scent of Damascan Rose, the wild-ness of the ocean never felt more frightening, nor beautiful to you and nothing seemed more tender than the night.
With all my love,
Oh how I miss you. Things never stay the same – I know that – but I always expected you to be around. Sometimes, I have conversations with you while I’m going about my day – quietly, in my mind’s eye, in that private space of the conscious imagination where we are undisturbed. I miss your smile and the understanding that comes from many years of shared experiences and time together. I miss your knowing, your reassurance, your wry laugh and your taste in music – not mine but the backdrop soundscape of so many things we did ensemble. I heard once, or perhaps I read somewhere that you get used to anything. Today those words linger. I don’t like that your absence is now just how-it-is. There are still moments when it feels as if I’ve simply been fooled into believing you are just on a holiday and will return at any moment. You’d think that the things that remind me of you would contribute to my daydream because in some way, they’d make you present in my life. In fact, they do the opposite. They bring me crashing back down to earth. They reveal a starker reality: that you are gone, not here, not close, not home. I miss it being easy. I miss the luxury of time and the grace of proximity. I miss you, my dear friend, oh how I miss you and it breaks my heart. Sometimes, I confess, I have conversations with you while I’m going about my day – quietly, in my mind’s eye, in that private space of the conscious imagination where we are undisturbed. And today? Today we walked a while along the road together and as we parted you smiled and waved goodbye.
My little ones,
From the moment I heard your hearts beat together on a screen in a doctor’s office, I knew I loved you. What I didn’t know was that on the day you were born, MY heart would break with a joy and love so profound I would never find the words to express its gravity. I wasn’t sure what having twins meant and I think, I was a little unprepared. It has not been easy, but with every hardship there is the equal and opposite reward and you, for me, are the greatest love I’ll ever know. My wish is that this world treats you kindly and that your tread is always soft, your path always guided and your failures instructive. My wish is that when you fall, you land on your feet and that you know that your Pappa and I will always be there for you. You are lucky because being a twin is a special thing. You weren’t born alone like most of us and you will never be far from and always connected to another. I’m sorry if I ever treat you as a single entity and do not give your individuality enough credence. I know that this can happen. I only hope that you feel the special kinship of your bond and realise that you have not missed out but gained the most extraordinary treasure. Everyday I watch you grow and develop and feel panicked that it is all happening so fast. I started to document the day to day so that I might bottle it all in some way. This blog is for you, mostly, and for Pappa and me and a way for us to remember your beautiful souls as they strike their own relationship with this world and begin their own journey across the course of time. I love you,