Where do they come from, these threads of us?

Where do we get these threads of ourselves?

Where do they come from, all these small fabrics woven into us? Into our way of speaking, of thinking, of liking and loving and being?

Who gave them to us, all those years ago? Who gifted them to us when we were small and unaware of the strength they would bring? The magic, the mystery, and sometimes the trouble too!

I found a letter from my grandmother, written to me in her spidery hand. Who gave that to her? Did someone teach her to write like that? Was it from school? Was it her mother? Was part of it her own unique style?


She sent me a book of poetry, and she wrote me a letter which I saved. I brought out that book to read to my own children the other day, and out of the front sleeve fell her letter. And the spirit of my grandmother upon it.

Inside were some of her favourite poems. Where did she get those things? Who gave those poems to her? Who made them her favourites? Who wove them into her spirit so that they became part of who she was? Was it her daddy, who I never knew? Was it her own grandmother?


Where do we get these threads of us?

This flesh and bone that comes from the great mystery. These words that come from our mouth unbidden and remind us startlingly of another. Who knitted these ways into us? Did we resist? Did we know even then that they would be our most precious treasures?

In her letter, she wrote of things I no longer remember, a night we stayed up late talking of poetry…so she was sending me this book.

“Sarah” – she calls to me in her own voice through the silence of the room, and although she is many months gone now, I hear her.

And I wonder now, as she was writing this letter, what threads did she see in me? Are those bits still here? Did I keep them safe? Did I treasure them as I should have?

And because I don’t know what else to do, I read the words she left me.

And then I pick up the book and begin to read her poems to my sons as they lay in their bed. And I watch as a little part of my grandmother is woven into them, although they will not know that is where that thread comes from.

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