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.