Letters To Elijah: Entry 14

January 27, 2019

By Sanda Rathamone



"I live in a hive of darkness, and you are my mother, I told her. You are the mother of thousands." - The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd.


"Dear Elijah,

I finished reading the book, "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. The story is set in rural and racist South Carolina in the 1960s. It is about a girl named, Lily, who lives with her father on a peach farm. Her mother mysteriously died when she was just 4-years-old.

Lily is often mistreated and abused by her father, who refuses to speak about her mother's past. At 14, she starts to question what really happened on the day her mother died. All she has is a faint memory and a few of her mother's belongings that she keeps hidden.

One day, Lily runs away with her nanny, seeking information about her mother in a place where she believes her mother had once been. She wanted to know if her mother had really abandoned her, like the way her father had said.

She comes across a colored woman, August, who lives in a pink house with her sisters, in which they keep bees and sell honey. Lily later discovers that the sisters had known her mother. Her mother's past turns out to be something she finds difficult to forgive; her search for maternal love is disappointing, until she realizes that it is found in more places than one.


As I got to know Lily's story, I could feel her yearning for her mother. The way Lily wondered about her mother and what she would be like, it made me think of me wondering about you. The way she treasured her mother's belongings made me think of how precious yours are to me.

Somewhere in the book, I began to question a different life. What if I had died and you lived instead? I remember after giving birth to you, your daddy kept telling me to stay awake. He was afraid that I would die - and a part of me did die that day. That part of me is dead and gone and disappeared with you.

But what if all of me had died? I know that your daddy would be devastated. But I want to know how you would feel? How your life would be while I am dead? How you would function, grow, and react without me? Who would you be without me as your mom?

Would you cry for me the way I cry for you? Or would you be furious, throw things, and believe that I had abandoned you, like the way Lily had with her mother? Would you wonder about who I was? What kind of mother I would have been? The touch of my hand on your cheeks? What my voice sounds like? My cooking? The smell of my shampoo? The way my body fills my clothes?

Would you look for a mother in all the women you knew? Would you ask your daddy all about me? Every. Single. Day?

Would you hide and hold my things close to your heart, like Lily did with her mother's things? Would you love me and hate me for leaving you behind? Or would you feel guilty for killing me, like Lily had done to her mother?

The only thing I could envision is your face looking up into the night sky, wondering where I was.

Love,

Mama."

Elijah Rathamone-Saeteurn 
Born Thursday, June 16, 2016 
6:51 a.m. 9.9 oz and 10 in 
Due October 30, 2016 

To read previous Letters To Elijah, click here.

With love,
Must Read:
Read Elijah's Story, "From Gender Reveal to a Spontaneous Delivery"

Photo: Mobilion/Pinterest

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