A Letter to My Past Self

I want to start out by telling you that you will walk again.

I know you’re afraid, and I want to tell you that’s okay.
(They won’t tell you this;
they’ll say you have to be brave.
They’ll be wrong.)
You’re allowed to be afraid.
You’re allowed to not know what’s going on,
you’re allowed to cry.
You will get through this.

You’re going to be so sick of this hospital room.
Every few hours you’ll blow into a tube
to see if you need a machine to breathe for you.
You will not know what threshold you’re approaching
but the numbers will get
lower and
lower and
You will not reach that threshold.
The speech therapist will make you say
ewehthig thfoouh thinez-
ewehrthing thfoour ttinez-
ewerything foour tines-
everything four times
until you can pronounce every letter.

You will work harder than you have ever worked
to take your first steps on Mother’s Day.
You will be exhausted. You will hurt.
You will wonder what would happen if you just quit now.

You will not quit.

You will reach a point where you understand
you cannot be afraid.
You have to push your limits to discover them
even though it makes your mom nervous
even though it makes you nervous.
You will push yourself.

On a one to ten pain scale
you will call a seven a five and a three a zero.
You will make a paper crane for every minute your
legs hurt too much for you to focus and you will
hang them in strings of a hundred.
You will not be fearless, but you will act like it.

You will not be fearless.

You will walk too fast and stumble or you will
sit down and be too afraid to try and stand back up.
It will be more than a year and a half
before you try to ride a bike again because
you are so afraid of falling.
There will be days where you are certain this will never end.
On those days,
you will be wrong.

I am writing because you need a reminder that someone believes in you.
I am writing to tell you that you are stronger than you imagine and braver too.
I am writing from a time when this is something that you have overcome.
I am writing because no one else knows what to say.
I am writing to tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will live.

With love.

Megan Gamino ’16

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