A true tale of a lost mother and a lost baby — both saved by hope and the woman of a thousand shades
I share a true and poignant tale of hope — creatively written by the mother who lived it.
There was once a little baby with nowhere to go.
His mom was sick and suffering, but she would not give up. Her baby wasn’t safe, and if she died immediately following, the dying wish of her soul was to find safety for her baby. As dead inside as she appeared, there was still a light that flickered. She knew there was hope when no one else did, except for the thousand shade woman.
“My home may be humble, but it is warm,” said the woman of all those colors.
She wore a thousand shades of grey and all the colors of the rainbow.
Maybe she was not a woman at all; perhaps she was an Angel.
Angel or human, and in any case, her abode was like her — humble. And like tales of our past, the Angels who walk among us usually wear plain clothing.
We often avoid the ordinary when it is often the path to transcendence.
It was not the professionals that the mother desperately sought help from — not even the wisest of her own family. Not her mother or her father or her dear old grandparents. It was not the doctors or the esteemed advocates — not even the women’s shelters. No church members or community keepers offered an alternative — they all cast her out in the streets unless she agreed to give away her baby.
She may not have it beat yet, but she would, the mother told herself. She knew she would find the solution — she just hadn’t yet. She knew she could get better, she just wasn’t better yet.
As squelched were the screams of her soul, there was something she could hear. No, she couldn’t hear her soul at all. But this she could feel.
Her life was a mess, and her soul was lost, but the depths still cast their say. If that young mother knew nothing else at all, she knew not to leave her baby. She would never sign him away.
So she traversed the country with him, looking for a solution. Traversing giant obstacles in the world and in her soul, she kept going in search of an answer and hung onto her hope. After long enough had passed, she gripped hope for dear life. But her fingers were slipping, and she knew she would soon fall.
But it wasn’t her falling that crushed her already broken heart, it was the thought of watching her baby fall. If that pit took her baby, there were only two places he could go; the streets or the system, and both were a bottomless hole.
When her fingers started slipping and she squinted her eyes, dear life about to be lost, her life flashed before her eyes. She thought maybe she was wrong.
Maybe they were right, all those miles ago. Maybe instead of keeping her baby, she should have signed the papers and let him go. At least if he had been adopted, he would have a good home. Maybe she should have let go of hope long ago. Then at least she would be falling alone. She could live or die with that. But she was not alone. Into the depths of despair and over this dangerous pit of doom, she had taken her baby with her, in hope. Maybe hope was lying from the start and had always planned to drop her.
Just when the last bit of earth escaped her fingers, along came the thousand shade woman. She didn’t expect for herself to be saved as the Angel reached down for the baby. And that was okay. She didn’t deserve to be saved anyway. The Angel may take her baby away, but at least he would make it to safety.
The lost mother expected to be kicked off the edge as she had been by all the others. Or maybe the woman would turn her back and walk away — leaving her to hang and fall away. But instead, she reached down and gave her a hand.
“Don’t let go of hope, yet,” she said.
She didn’t take him, although she raised him for 2,199 days. She didn’t take him away. She took him and held him and kept him warm. She let the lost mother find her way.
Time has passed since those days, and many things have changed. But the hope that was almost lost, until that frightful day, lives on in that mother — who continues to give it away.
That woman of a thousand shades — she died the other day. She died of this earth, but her message lives on through the hope she gave away.
The mother has her baby and has for years gone by. But she wasn’t the one there for most firsts and a thousand times he cried. The colorful woman did all of that. And although that still haunts the mother deep inside, she is grateful that the mother in her lived. For the mother in her and her entire soul would have died without the thousand shade woman.
Written by Holly Kellums
originally published on Medium
Featured art - Hope, II by Gustav Klimt, 1907–1908 (Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris) — licensed by dalbera under CC BY 2.0
I know I said something on that eery, yet soothing, face-time call — when you were on those machines. But that something was small and didn’t feel at all big enough to honor your memory. So for now, I have written these.
Everything I do, everything I love and everything I am was made possible by you. The hope you gave me when all hope was lost is the same hope that fuels my entire life’s purpose and all of my passions. The length at which my gratitude for you stretches goes far beyond this earth. Into the heavens, it rises so high and far that I never see an end. It wraps around every part of me in a way that I cannot measure. So please forgive my understatements.
Infinite love and gratitude,