Why Write?

When I was 25, I lived in San Francisco. I had a beautiful little apartment on a highly desirable street. I was close enough to the Golden Gate Bridge to run there in the morning. I was close enough to Peets Coffee to walk. Chestnut Street was full of funky clothing stores and there was a movie theatre a block away. The best skiing I’ve ever experienced was a short drive to Lake Tahoe and when I arrived home from the perfect powder, I could hop on my bike and cruise through the hills of the city. I had a great job. Wonderful friends. And I was depressed.

I didn’t know why. Does anyone ever really know? Something was just not right. I wanted something else. I wasn’t sure what. I just knew this wasn’t it.

I’d like to say that my mom was the one person who could really understand me. But she could not. She tried. Through my tears, she talked to me about how much I had and how blessed I was. But it is a funny thing about depression. You can’t talk yourself out of it.

In my mom’s desperation to once again make me complete, she offered me a proposal. Quit your job. I’ll pay your living expenses. Find an apartment somewhere far away from it all. And write. Write about how you are feeling and what you are experiencing. Maybe it will help.

I didn’t take her up on that offer, but I still think about it. I’d love to talk to her about it now. It’s 25 years later and I have children of my own. I love them unconditionally. I ache when they ache and rejoice when they rejoice. They are my life. But the offer my mom made to me, could I do that? With test scores and college applications and making sports teams and averting risky behavior, could I just trust my kids and let them be?

I don’t know. I am always working on it. Aspiring to be the person my mom was in that moment. Like most of life, you never know the things that will really make an impact until long after they are done. Did she know? Did she realize that I’d still be thinking about that offer years after it was made? I think no. Probably not.

My mom passed away earlier this year. I was not done with her, and she was not done with me. The loss is painful in ways I could not anticipate. It is always there. And when I think about that offer she gave me all of those years ago, I wonder: What if I just write?

So here goes.

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