Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Letter to Dong

I remember the first time you smiled – a genuine smile that lit up your face. Weeks of visiting you on your wooden frame bed, the stench of urine and waste on the dirt floor and wondering if you even knew I was there as you sat vacantly not wanting to move or interact. But at last we had really connected

Eye to eye – heart to heart. In the absence of language so much was communicated and you had for short moment something to smile about. Maybe it was the bubbles I had blown for you because you reached out your finger to pop them and looked at me with intrigue….

You studied the plastic shapes, rotating them in your hand and even tried to stack them. If I dropped one on purpose you reached down to retrieve it…..You pointed excitedly at the picture book, the basketball and the bike. What kind of life had you known before your abandonment? Your family? Your memories? What was your real name? So much I longed to know and understand.

They said it was a miracle when you got out of your wheelchair and walked with me. It wasn’t a miracle at all – you had the ability but had been left too long. You picked up your feet so deliberately and the other boys laughed as you marched. I wondered what else you could do if given the opportunity?

There was so much life- a beautiful soul in a neglected body, caked in dirt, ingrained into your skin, always a running nose and deep echoing cough that never seemed to go away– a beautiful life hidden in the corner, forgotten and unappreciated….

I kissed you on your cheek at Christmas and promised we would have a place for you one day where you could know love, a home, a place to belong, to grow and be more than what you had been so long limited to. I dreamed it as a place for you. I drew a room for you downstairs in the plans and imagined you there on a proper bed, with a pillow and blanket, clean, with your book, laughing…..That dream was too late in coming for you…I’m so sorry it has taken so long….

You will never know how much your life inspired me – to reach out beyond myself, to believe that it is possible to make a difference. Knowing you and loving you, was the seed. May the tears that stream down be as liquid prayers to water it….and may it grow, not as a memorial but as a promise that you and countless other children like you deserve so much more….

Be loved dear one in the arms of your Father– who saw you and knew you and holds you forever.

A precious treasure in my heart always,

Loving you too,

Tita Mary

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