Student Stories

My Silence
by Bekkah Petree


Writing Workshop

May 2020

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I needed silence. 


The kind that engulfs you; that is loud and distracting.  Silence where your primal sounds are absorbed and held safe.

Days blurred together. It felt like a month had passed. 

I needed silence. 

The kind that engulfs you; that is loud and distracting.  Silence where your primal sounds are absorbed and held safe. 

Sickness took hold of my little ones.  I kept our home warm with fire. The cabin that was 25 minutes from town.  It sat within the Juniper and Pinion Forest alongside  sage, rubber rabbit brush and Mormon tea. The place where the songs of coyotes sang to us and the gritty dirt dried out our bare feet. 

My husband was away for 2 weeks.  While he was gone I navigated how to choose, which, of my 2 year old triplets and my 4 year old, got the comfort they needed. 

Jennie was too sick to moan, she lay there drifting between sleep and listlessness. Her fever was too high and her seal cough with shallow breathing hurt me.  

Cliff ‘s fever was low enough he could cry and demand. 

Ethan‘s was higher and he was weak from throwing up.

Ava had a low grade fever and desperately needed me. Needed her Mom, her turn, her comfort.  

I held, rocked, ached. 

I sang, felt guilt and locked myself in my room to breath. 

I cuddled, cooked, medicated and did the wash. 

I sanitized, found blankies and read books. 

I thought about showering. 

I thought about a warm meal.  

I held my breath and let it out ever so slowly, for fear of breaking something within. 

I laid on the couch with my 4 children. They sat on me like birds on a line. 

The closest to my head got the most intimate comfort. After awhile they rotated. 

Chest moved to shins, shins moved to thighs, thighs moved to stomach, and stomach to chest.  The best comfort spot, where I could sing and speak to just that one. 

They all knew they would get a turn. They were too tired or sick to complain. Selfishly, I was grateful they couldn’t. 

I was saturated with the needs of those around me. Being needed, wanted, demanded of; to be, fulfill, please, adjust, create safety.  Those I loved. All those I carried and gave birth to. 

My greatest joys and draw of life energy.  

It had been 10 days.  I needed quiet. The kind that comes when I am confident all is taken care of, so I can recognize it. 

Sickness released its grip on 3 of them. 

My breath was guarded and untrusting of the new space. My inhales were shallow and exhales calculated. 

My husband returned and the energy stores I was drawing from disintegrated. 

I needed to go. 

I walked through the forest to the field where sometimes the grass grew 6 feet tall. The field at the edge of the swaying willows and flowing stream. I tried to listen. 

I tried to breathe deeply with intention and bravery. 

There was a hum. I needed silence. I tried to find the source.  The bravery I thought I could tap into was faltering. 

The humming. 

I could not filter it out. I could not find my peace. I wasn’t asking for much. 30 minutes.

Resentment rose with each step. I looked up. There it was; the last barrier. 

Power lines.  Lines extending to remote places offering comfort and safety.  

In that moment, that power consumed what I had left, leaving me to crumble. 

I went to my primal place, but my sounds were not safe and absorbed. They were vulnerable and ugly. 

I stood. I turned. I walked home.

And made dinner.   

Author Bio

At 40 years old I am a mother of 5 with triplets in the mix. I have been married for 21 years. I used to backpack with troubled teens/adults, have been a high school teacher/coach and continue to volunteer in various capacities in my community. Currently, I work for Petree Consulting where I help mental health facilities gather evidence based data.

I love people, learning, life. Nature is where I go to find balance. I am in the middle of opening a Coffee House and Art Gallery which also hosts workshops for the community.

Take a look at my current project,

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