"She was dead. Buried in the red clay dirt, on the side of the highway, on the outskirts of Freetown, cast out like yesterday's trash."
I worked on this book for years. Originally it was a chronological story. Starting with our adoption of Jayda... and moving forward from there. I could never bring myself to write about Adama though. The entire reason for writing the book in the first place. Every time I would begin to dive into it, I would get so sick to my stomach... chest pains I can't even begin to explain... and I would be depressed for days on end. So I would shelve it. Over and over again I would put off the dirty work of exposing her journey...our journey together.
When I would have these seasons, I would often times start texting a fellow author and dear friend and I would dump on him... telling him all about the struggle. He was perfect to lean on. He had spent years covering war as a journalist, he had seen the best and worst of humanity. He's taught me more about life than most.... One day he called me as I was wrestling with it all. He let me cry and vent... and then...
"What is keeping you from writing about her... what's the root?"
I told him I didn't wanna fall apart. I was afraid I would come completely undone and I wouldn't know where to go from there. How would I put myself back together again?
He said very simply, and with his raw intensity I have grown to admire....
"So fall apart. Fucking unravel if you have to. Go there. Stop fighting it. Because the story that comes from that space is the only true one there is to tell."
I knew he was right.
SO, I threw out my entire manuscript and started over. I holed away in my condo downtown... alone... and I started with the first chapter sharing what I feared the very most... unraveling her death, moment by moment.
I started with the moment my world changed. The news of her death. Knowing that from that point, the rest of the story would eventually tell itself, but I had to begin with the hardest climb... the darkest road. It had to be tackled FIRST. I knew it would posture me and the writing in a way that would be raw, true, exposing, and mind shifting.
So that's where and how Chapter ONE came to be.
Sometimes when I reread it I feel like I still failed in bringing what happened that day into the light where all can understand what it was really like. I tried to paint the picture... but it still doesn't feel quite as real as it really was that day. I suppose because it's a memory... We choose to remember what we want to and we allow what we don't want to recall to fade into the distant background. Sometimes I wish the world had been there in that moment... every single person taking space on this planet... I think about what it might be like and how different the statistic might look, if every person witnessed the death of a child due to neglect, malnourishment, diarrhea, malaria, the list goes on and on....What if you didn't just read about it? What if you were forced to face it head on.... live and in person? I wonder how quickly laws would change, how many more children would be sponsored, how we would worry less about immigration reform, and protecting our "own" and more about welcoming all children to our table... our table in the land of plenty. The things we think matter would no longer matter... I guarantee it. I wonder what it would look like if the world finally realized as I've always said... that the world's children are OUR children. They belong to me and they belong to YOU..... Are you okay with allowing them to buried because they don't have clean water? I didn't think so. Me either. I wonder what it would be like.....If the whole world knew? If they knew and decided to actually do something about it.... once and for all.