Unsent Letters • 03.19.2019

So I found this this morning, sifting through a box of random things from my office in your trailer. It was the only thing written in a small-ish notebook that I dont remember having..


I could go back through all the letters

And the things still left unsaid

But I would rather see tomorrow

Or the pictures in my head.

I have so little left to cling to

When it comes to you and me

An empty promise of forever

And I think I’ll let that be..

I wish somehow I could remind you

Of the light we used to share

Of the hopes and dreams we’re built from

And the love to be found there

In the beginning we were more..

So much more than we’ll ever know

We burned so bright that we burned out

Before our promises came through

But I still want you and I flat refuse

To give up on us yet

But I can’t hold on for the both of us

And I think you’ve let go…

– I love you.

– A 😥


On a Prayer..

Dear Pastor H,

I am writing this letter to give my ten year old daughter the voice she will need to sing the praises and prayers that have been hidden within her..

If I had to guess, I’d say you probably get a couple of hundred of these heartfelt, devastatingly tragic letters every month… maybe more. Probably a good bit more than you could possibly have the time to read… Still, I hope somehow this letter finds its way to you. And when it gets there I hope you’ve got time to read..

My name is Amber. I live in small town Mississippi and my youngest girl believes that you will one day change her world.

Miss Sandra Grace Howell has been Gracie since the womb, and she’s brought me more happiness and joy and pain and worry and fear and an utterly unfathomable love within this life than I could have possibly imagined. More than any single soul could really ever need..

She is my anchor, my hope, my sorrow and delight. She’s so much more than what she looks like and I wouldn’t give her back or change a thing..

But if things had been different…

Gracie was born full term (38wks, 3days) and with an APGAR score of 8 and then 9 after two minutes of life. Being insulin dependent, I was inundated with amniotic fluids and, after about 7 hours of labor, had to have a c-section. The next time we saw her we were told she had had some complications and that she was going to need some specialized care. At 4 days old she was transported by ambulance to the University Hospital in Jackson, MS.

She was more than a month old before we got to bring her home with us. The Drs still weren’t sure it was a good idea, but we’d spent enough time in the NICU and her daddy and I wanted her at home.. if she wasn’t going to live she still had five siblings to meet and who wanted to love her.

The day we left the Dr looked her daddy and I straight in the eyes and told us we would do well to simply “hold her and love her and keep her comfortable”.

It was 5 months later when she finally woke up. She started smiling more and sleeping less and she was beautiful. Every couple of months would bring some new and incredible things we weren’t prepared for and it was crazy. She was smart and aware and not blind or deaf as we’d all imagined.. She would likely never walk or talk or feed herself, but she was a miracle.

I do apologize for being so long winded, Pastor, but I had to tell you that to tell you this..
Last month we went to an orthopedic surgeon. (She has a bursa cyst on one knee and I want it gone).. So, off to orthopedics we went. Always the skeptic, I regarded this new doctor like the quack I had so quickly assumed he would be and prepared myself to comfort my child in the wake of his obvious shortcomings.

Boy, was I wrong..

It would seem as though Dr Ortho is the answer to our prayers. With an incredible 90% success rate in regards to the surgery left dangling like a carrot, I couldn’t be more excited or more afraid for what’s to come. I mean, 90%.. I am utterly blown to pieces every time I hear myself say it out loud..

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Well we’re scheduled for November and I couldn’t be more terrified and thrilled and leery if I tried..

Essentially, they’re going to put her to sleep and reconstruct her legs from about mid-thigh down to the arches of her feet. Crazy isn’t it.. Try imagining that through my eyes. This is a BIG deal. Big enough to stand before Him (and as proxy, before You) in hopes that you might take some time out for my girl.

And so I ask you, as a mother, as somebody who has not been blessed with faith enough to move this mountain on my own, would it be possible for us to come and lean on you? On your voice? On your strength? On your unfaltering relationship with our Lord in this mess…?

If you can find time you between now and Halloween, I will be more than blessed to afford my child the opportunity to hold your hand and even possibly to hear you speak her name in prayer. All you need to do is tell me when..
I sincerely appreciate the time that has been taken here today. We’ll need all the prayers we can get, and somehow Grace thinks your prayers are special..

Many blessings,
Amber and Gracie Howell ♥️

Unsent Letters • 05.19.2019

I have this memory of you, in the dark with your head on my chest at 2 in the morning.. the weight of your head.. the warmth of your tears.. that feeling of insecurity with regard to where we stood, both in life and in line.. In nine years I can’t remember seeing you so vulnerable; not one time. It was only a moment, but I think if I could go back I’d react differently now than i did then. I miss you so much.. 😔

My Broken Road

Okay soooo.. maybe I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and somehow lost what little grip I once had on reality.. Everything sucks, and I can’t seem to make things better no matter what I do.

And I’ve tried.

Nothing’s gone as planned in so damn long I’ve about given up. I’ve been trying to pull myself out of the funk I’ve buried myself in, but I’m in over my head and I’m starting to suffocate. I’ve been choking for a while now, really, I just couldn’t see the forest through the trees.. There’s a small part of me that really can’t help being grateful to have been so happy for so long, but the rest of me still wishes that I’d seen it coming..

It wouldn’t have changed things, really, but maybe I’d be hurting less now. I mean, what in God’s name is freaking wrong with everybody? For serious? Just thinking about it leaves a bad taste in my mouth..

Yes. It’s that bad.

I want my daughter back. I want my friend back. I want my husband back. And I want them all RIGHT NOW. More than all that though, I want myself.

Somewhere in the midst of all the bullshit and the rubble, it would seem that I’ve run off and lost my way. And while it kills me to admit it, I don’t know that I can find my way back home. At this point I’m not even sure I want to.. find my way, I mean. Still, home’s not a safe place for me now anyway, and I can’t believe how bad some of it hurts..

I could probably name a new ocean for all the damn tears I’ve shed this past year..

I think Im gonna need a bigger boat..

Screw It

You know, I used to sit around and dream about what my life would be like when I finally got where I was going.. What marriage and children and living would be all about.. I think most little girls are just like that, I guess.. but who knows? Not me, that’s for damn sure. I don’t rightly know much about anything nowadays, and I’m having a hard enough time working out my own dreams to stop and think seriously about anyone else’s.

Shitty, but it is what it is.

A year ago I’d have probably wondered if that last statement made me an asshole or not, but today I just really don’t care. Now that makes me an asshole.

O freaking well.

Nowadays I sit around and dream about what my life will be like when I finally get where I’m going.. When my kids are all grown and the man that I’ve stood by has gone..

Will it all come together somewhere down that invisible line we spend most of our lives toeing in an effort to live long and prosper?

Again, who even knows?

I just want to be happy. That’s all I’ve ever wanted really.. Someone to spend my old lady years with; who will love me and maybe not laugh at my jokes, but take notice of me in any case.. I’m tired of feeling invisible. I’m tired of walking on eggshells when I should be dancing on air. I’m tired of being alone..

April 10, 2019


Questions –

• What does a good relationship look like to you?

Having love and trust and, during times of happiness or conflict, a best friend.

• If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?

Probably crying. Or cleaning. I’m pretty good at that too.

• What do you wish you knew more about?

At this point in my life, I’d have to say The Bible.

• What is better in your opinion – asking for forgiveness or permission?

I’m not sure there’s really a good answer for this. Both suck.

• What’s the best thing about your life right now?

Right now I’d have to say that the best thing my life has got going is hope. For the first time in a decade there is honest to God hope that my little girl will finally walk.