By Susan Storm
PROMPT — During COVID-19 ...
she woke up and cried —
she didn’t want to be alone — the family was upstairs.
she didn’t know what would happen if she went upstairs.
she hadn’t joined them for breakfast for a few weeks — shortly after she arrived there to wait out the pandemic
it was safer here, from the pandemic, than her apartment in an eleven-story subsidized housing complex for older adults, but the loneliness that she brought with her had found fertile soil in this new setting.
Before COVID-19 she felt a similar pang of emptiness in her heart from time to time, and she had begun to believe that it was part of who she was.
but to feel it in this new setting where people were right there on the floor above her — was curious and disturbing.
that morning — she knew that she would be heartbroken to stay down in her apartment. she would not find peace there.
but she didn’t know what would happen if she went upstairs.
she did the usual steps to relieve her fear and sadness —
she did her yoga and listened to the focusing tape on self-care — she remembered the words of Pema — to hold her fears gently and nurture them.
but the words of Jesus finally gave her the courage to climb the stairs. she knew that Jesus knew what she would find upstairs and that He could show her His miracles.
she knew that she would never find out if she didn’t go up the stairs.
part two — up the stairs
she looked around and no one was there.
she could see that the leash was gone and so someone was taking the dog on a walk.
as she walked around the kitchen and listened up the stairs for sounds of the family — she was still deciding what to do —
and then she noticed her son in law approaching the house with the dog. it was her first impulse to walk back down the stairs — instead she went around the corner to the kitchen and made her tea. she felt she could still make an excuse and bring the tea downstairs.
but everything unfolded neatly so that she continued to stay — her daughter appeared, the children were called down to breakfast, the son in law came in and made an elaborate breakfast.
she used all her skills and talents to appear at ease. she sat at the table next to her daughter as her daughter sat on the floor with the new puppy.
she had her tea and the orange that she had peeled.
as the children came and the parents all sat together eating the food, the woman was glad that she was not alone in the basement.
after he ate, the oldest grandchild came behind her and gave her a long hug. the younger one read to her the story he had written for home school, while the parents talked. the daughter asked her mother if she would empty the dishwasher - she was glad to. she was careful to wash up all the pans too and scrub some fruit for the fruit bowl
now the grandmother is sitting on the couch reading her book as the younger child reads his book
she decides to write the story.
Susan Storm graduated from Lesley University in 2013 with a Masters in Expressive Therapy. She was only 63 years old! Susan began writing from prompts a few years before that, when she learned at Omega Institute from Natalie Goldberg who taught her to trust that the next thought was the perfect one. Susan writes for her own healing and is always surprised by the story that is finished after 10 or 15 minutes. Somehow I understand my own story better after I write it. Susan has been writing a lot during the pandemic and here is a little story that flowed right out of her thoughts this morning.