The Writing Journey: The College Years

The College Years – Rediscovering my love of the written word  

My first year at LDS Business College was an emotional time. It was the year I tried to find my footing in this world without my mother to guide me and act as my sounding board. I fumbled a lot that year.  I made choices which I look back and cringe, and I made some choices I’m very happy with.

One of the classes I was required to take was an English writing class. The class description said we would be working on business letters and other such business type topics. Little did I know the original teacher became ill and a new teacher was hired right before the semester began. She was an Enlish lit teacher, and not so much into the business side of writing. Yes, we started out learning how to format business letters of all types, but then our class changed. She started assigning up topics and asking us to write papers and articles – all of which were based on a much more personal level.

There were many afternoons I returned home, dreading to start the next assignment, knowing the struggle I would face trying to find the words to express my feelings on each topic. As I struggled through these assignments, the words gradually started to flow again – coming softly into my mind here and there, prompting some beautiful descriptions, vivid details, and allowing an emotional connection between me and the reader.

One particular assignment was extremely difficult. It was about our dreams. I would guess that most of the students in class talked about what they wanted to accomplish in life. But the dreams I had at that point where the images that ran through my mind at night while I slept. This was my final paper for this class and by far the most gut wrenching to write. Because there was only one dream I that occupied my mind--every night, over and over and over again.

The Sleeping Baby Doll
Tara Danyelle Bauman

Each night I relive it. Holding on to her hand and stroking her hair. Trying to take in every detail of her face and her eyes because I know that soon I won’t be able to see them everyday. Remembering all of the life and joy that once shined from those beautiful gray eyes that are now filled with pain and glazed over from the drugs that were meant to help her feel more comfortable.

As I held her hand, I remembered so many things. I kept thinking of my graduation. Visions of being dressed in a purple cap and gown. I remember walking to the podium to receive my diploma and seeing my mother on the front row of the bleachers smiling and waving to me. Her face was beaming and full of pride for her youngest daughter’s accomplishments. Then at the commencement of the ceremonies, I walked down the aisle to leave the gymnasium and entered the briskness of the spring night. The first person that I saw was my mother standing just outside of the doorway. We threw our arms around each other and cried and laughed and shared our excitement.

“I love you,” I said.. I kept saying that over and over again. I was never quite sure if she understood what I was saying, but I hoped that she did. In response, I could only hear her breathing through the machine positioned next to the bed.

The walls are just as white and bare as the first time. The room was filled with chaos that I just wanted to eliminate. And so I did. In my mind I was the only one there. Trying to help my best friend, my mother, to have peace and comfort in her last hours. Trying to show her that I was brave and that I would be a survivor, when I was really filled with pain and sadness that was tearing me apart.

Now I am helping her to hold her head up. The drugs are really taking effect and she just doesn’t seem to have any strength left. I continued to stroke her thick brown hair, trying to remember the texture and feel of it between my fingers. I kept talking to her as her eyelids grew heavier and heavier.

I watch her becoming weaker and weaker. Until finally, all of the chaos is really gone. The room is quiet, too quiet. Somewhere during all of that racket, she found eternal peace. I see her lying there like a sleeping baby doll. Wishing that I could just touch her to make her wake up.

I reach out to do so.... and I wake up.

My teacher sought me out at the end of the semester to talk to me about my article and my writing. She encouraged me to pursue a writing career. I told her I would consider it, but as I walked away from our meeting I knew I wasn’t ready to let the words all the way back in. I didn’t want to delve back into that emotional, tumultuous world. I wanted the stability of numbers and business law in my everyday life.

So I tried to push the words away, but this time they didn’t obey. They lingered and popped up here and there, only this time they weren’t just words – they were people, characters who made me laugh.

Would you like to comment?

Kellie said...

Wow Danyelle. That is powerful. I'd say it was a blessing that your original teacher couldn't teach the class. I'm so glad you let the words in, even if they are painful at times.

Christine said...

And just look at you now. I'm so glad you allowed yourself to be the creative, talented writer that was within you. Your words will touch others in a way no other could.


Kimberly Job said...

YOU are amazing, Danyelle. Your words touch and inspire me often.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, the way we find our words. And what beautiful, poignant words you have, Danyelle. I'm sorry for your loss. My heart is with you.

ali cross said...

Wow. I sure didn't expect to find this here today. My mom's birthday is coming up. Were she still alive, she'd be turning 77. Instead, she died when she was just 54, and I was 19. It was my first year of university, and I remember with great clarity my own mother's grey eyes, glazed with medication and pain.

I'm so sorry for your loss Danyelle. I'm sorry for both of us. I miss my mom more than I can say. I'm sure you do too.


Amy said...

That was beautiful. I'm glad you shared it and allowed the words to keep coming.

brenda miller said...

Dear Danyelle,
After you so kindly emailed me I still could NOT open your blog. I hated to bother anyone further so I left it alone. This morning after returning from "Praise Moves" I opened my computer and felt prompted to try again. There you were. I absorbed into my spirit your words of love toward your mom and they provided a funnel that let my protected and controlled emotions to flow freely from my heart. The rhythms of my life have been out of sync. The primary melody for months was gone. I was bound to my mother's side while I watched the struggling metamorphosis taking place in that suffocating, almost unrecognizable cocoon she was bound in. How I wish I could have been in the great cloud of witnesses when she made her debut as a new creature in Christ. I thanked God for His mercy in taking her, but my song is not harmonious yet. There is dissonnace, skipped beats,and missed measures. It is still more like a dirge. I haven't known how yet to live a new song without her. The old song is still too alive and threatens to break through my consciouness during wake and sleep. I understand your dream so well. Thanks for sharing it. brenda