I wish I had known you when you were young.
I know it’s impossible to go back, but I wish I could have seen you then, to truly know you—in all your details and in all the glory of your perfect imperfectness.
To know your untainted essence. You were so full of awe and wonder then—how you loved to play and dance and laugh. Remember how silly you were? You delighted in life, in nature, in the changing of the seasons, and in each and every holiday. You would lie in bed and have trouble sleeping because you were so excited by what was yet to be. You always found the amazing in the mundane.
Seeing your photos and drawings, hearing stories, and watching old family movies—I can see it so clearly; there is a magic about you. There always was. You inspire me to feel those younger years and those carefree days. You were so full of imagination and joy. Your smile could always light up any dark corner of the world. I can see you now, in my mind’s eye, beaming from ear to ear.
I wish I had met you before it happened; the moment it all changed.
That moment that marked the loss of your innocence. The loss of joy. The end of your idyllic childhood. And then, there were many moments, one after the other, that seemed to claim whatever blissful naïveté was left. I wish I had gotten to know you, really know you, before all the years had written tragedy across your heart.
I know there are things I can’t see because they were buried deep; things that you felt needed to be kept hidden and safeguarded, even from yourself. Won’t you speak to me? Won’t you tell me what hasn’t been told? If you’ll allow me, I’ll hold your secrets and your heart. I promise to revere them above all else.
Maybe you weren’t able to be present when those things happened. Did you fly above your body or outside the room to avoid the terror? Did you use your imagination to daydream, or did you learn to lie and say that it wasn’t that bad. Or that they didn’t mean it? Did you learn to give yourself up to avoid the punishment? Did you feel like you had no place to go?
I wish I could have been there for you. I wouldn’t have just told you it wasn’t your fault, I would have taken you far away from there. I would have stood up for you, stood strong in the face of rage and fear and told you that you deserved better. I wouldn’t have just told you, I would have shown you. I wouldn’t have let you fight your battles alone. I wouldn’t have shamed, rejected, and abandoned you for feeling. I wouldn’t have left you in fear and panic to deal with all of your messy emotions in solitude inside your small body.
I would have been your safe place. I wish you could have run to me when you were feeling scared and alone. I would have let you come to me and bury yourself in my arms. I would have held you until the storms passed. I would have kept you safe from the world. I would have told you the truth about how beautiful you are; that all of your emotions are beautiful. That you had a right to be seen and heard. That you can have what you want and need. That maybe you missed the mark sometimes, but you were never a mistake. Or wrong for being. The world may have seemed complicated and cruel, but your needs were always simple and warranted. You deserved a love that was truly unconditional.
Now, you are safe, even though you may not feel it.
You are years and tears away from that place and time, even if you still don’t believe it. I know that to you, it seems that no time has passed. There are parts of you that were frozen and don’t understand that you’ve aged. I know how your pain has made your heart so big in places it feels like it’s going to break open. I wish I could have stopped those things from happening, even knowing that it’s shaped you into someone so beautiful.
The truth is, it hurt; it hurt deeply. I can feel that.
I want to take all the pain away, knowing full well I can’t. Your pain is needed in this world to heal it. Won’t you let me help you turn your pain into something meaningful? I promise I will. Won’t you let me earn your trust?
I will be here from now on. For forever. Until the end of everything. I will make sure your pain has a purpose. That you weren’t broken in vain. I can’t go back to the past and save you then, but I can save you now.