I was getting ready for work today when a strange flying creature began circling my head. I realized it was a bird from the planet Bobby’s been talking about and I followed it down the hall into his room. Bobby was sleeping with what, at first, I thought was a toy tree in his hand, but as the bird flew into the tree I peered in to see a tiny girl sitting on a real branch! I gasped as she waved up at me and tried to tell me something. Her voice was so small that i couldn’t hear her so I tore a tiny piece of paper off, sharpened a pencil and broke the tip off the lead and passed it through the branches to her. She spent some time writing as I sat in amazement, watching her little hand holding this speck of graphite to write a message. Just as she handed me the paper, Bobby woke up and all but the letter disappeared. When we put the note under Bobby’s microscope to read and Bobby’s eyes glistened with happiness. I finally understood what has been getting to him lately. He just wants to know he’s making a difference.
As the writer of the Giant Letters, my job is to take stock of the people and events that have carried some weight over the course of a year, and to weave them all into a one-page story that hopes to offer emotional healing and transformation to its readers. I’ve been hesitant to share what inspires the letters, as the stories behind them are often difficult, but as violence and apathy surge in our world, I feel that creating an emotional context for discussion around it is key to our social healing. I want to offer a trigger warning for the dedications below, as the content touches on difficult topics such as cancer, the loss of children and parents, abuse, and suicide. - Caro
MARIE-LUCE MOULINIÉ D'OFFAY
THÉRÈSE & PAUL MOULINIÉ
Marie-Luce and Caro
Marie-Luce and Caro
Caro & Grandmother
Marie-Luce & Marliese Hall
I dedicate the 2016 Austin letter and our Giant Letter project, as a whole, to my mother -- Marie-Luce Moulinie d'Offay.
I can’t imagine the courage it took my parents to make the decision to move to America. As many kids from their country experienced, my mom and her three siblings were shipped off to boarding school thousands of miles away from their home when my mother was only six years old. Her siblings were all older and were housed in a different part of their school. My mom was sickly and struggled to eat or to make friends so she found herself isolated from the world at a very young age and didn’t get to develop socially, until she left the school at 16. I’m proud of the natural intelligence and compassion she developed even in that hard environment, despite her lack of human interaction and support during her formative years. She had difficulties and, also, a warmth of heart for which I will eternally be grateful to have been the recipient.
She developed a Grade 4 Glioblastoma at the age of 49. She survived 5 years. In her last years, my mom and I did a lot of visualizations and emotional work to communicate with her cancer so that it might know her warmth and leave her body. I often imagined what it would be like to shrink down and visit the cancer inside her brain and talk to it. So much of this story is based on these imaginings. Her name meant light and she was one of the lights of my life, who I aim to honor in all that I do.
My mother's two best friends passed away within a few years of each other. I'd like to also dedicate this letter to them, and to my maternal grandparents, so that they can be together here.