What is below has been written by someone who wishes to stay anonymous but would like to share their words with others, in the hope that it can give encouragement, comfort and maybe even hope of their own. They started by sharing it with a group of people who had experienced similar losses and times of darkness and, in doing so, I watched as these words started to turn lights on in others who had felt as though they had nothing left except darkness.

The reason I love this so much is because it speaks of words and is expressed through writing, something which I believe can be a great way to express when verbalising is a real struggle. Even in the counselling room writing can be incorporated when language seems to get stuck in emotion. The action of writing something down on paper and seeing it there, solid, it can have a big impact on us as individuals.

26 Letters

‘I’ve often marveled at the English language. 26 letters combining together, in a multitude of ways to create names, poetry, books, reports, studies. It’s like magic! It gets even more fascinating when you think that those same/similar letters can be spoken in different ways to create whole languages which in their turn can compile books, poetry, essays etc.

Now, you would think that in all those combinations there would always be a word or phrase to express anything you could desire, however, as I bear witness to daily, this is not the case. Sometimes, words just aren’t enough.

The first time I spoke to him was over our words. Our passion for the creations we would birth in our minds and then record for others to enjoy. Life hadn’t been easy for him and he couldn’t understand how a person like me, young and privileged, could write out of such pain and darkness. To be fair, I’ve never been able to understand why myself but the words that he read mirrored his own pained cries. Our friendship grew over the years as did our lives. I travelled the world, explored, lived, making the most of what was handed to me in life. In stark contrast he worked for everything he had, which was pretty much nothing, and he felt strangled, suffocated by the restrictions of his life. Even when I settled and got married, had kids, my own freedoms suddenly reigned in, I couldn’t claim it to be anywhere near as stifling as his constant battle with life. What we had together though, that was breath-taking. The worlds we created, the stories we told, the songs our hearts sang in poetry form, words, weaving us together. We laughed, cried, celebrated, loved, shouted, swore and started the whole cycle again. Twelve years, inseparable. We spoke daily, feeling lost if one of us was unable to communicate for more than 8hours. Then one day, it stopped. His final words saying goodbye and that he loved me. Now it’s not been hours since speaking to him but months. Almost a year.

You know that moment where you’ve been in a really sunny, bright place and then suddenly you enter a tunnel and you literally can’t see anything? Yeah, that’s how it felt. Maybe at the start I hoped beyond all hope that I’d come out that tunnel quickly and have the sun shining on me again but after a couple of months I realised I would have to let my eyes adjust to the dark. He truly was gone. What made things worse is that people don’t understand. They say things like, ‘but you were just words to each other’ and I look at them and don’t understand them. How do people not get that words mean more to me than anything? I don’t see in pictures or colours or even smells, I see life through words, letters mingled together to create something beautiful. Part of my language has been taken from me, by his own hand. Part of my alphabet gone.

As I walked through the darkest areas of the tunnel which had suddenly consumed my life, I would get flashes of light. Not sunlight, more like street lights. Illuminating but nowhere near as life giving as the real thing. Memories, good memories, flashes of joy, amusement, even shyness. Sometimes the light is slightly brighter, sometimes just flickering, like the bulb was about to blow. I think I’m starting to accept that there are skylights in my tunnel though. I still miss him more than I can express, but I promised him that every word I write will be for him, his memory, his sunshine back in this world, a part of him to share with others. It’s taken me a while, almost a year, but I’m starting to feel my words come back to me. I feel like I can speak our language again, practicing with people who understand this amazing world of creativity. I don’t cry when I think about him in our world, I smile. I have never been so grateful to a group of people in my life. A family no outsider truly understands. Connected by words. Connected by minds. Connected by 26 letters.’

If you feel as though these words are something which has touched a part of you that feels like it would like to be explored, or you want to reach the stage this writer has slowly managed to get to but don’t know how to alone, please feel free to contact me, and we can see if working together could be a way forward for you.

Remember words are powerful things, let’s see if we can use them to help you through whatever it is you are facing.

Verdant Haven Counselling