Speaking Your Truth
“In October 2013, 5 months after Chiara was born..”
That’s all I had to say to begin my speech at last week’s fundraising event.
Yet as I stood in front of the microphone, I completely froze. Not so much from nerves due to public speaking to 150 people, but more so, because of the content of what I was about to share. Just like that, it hit me like a tonne of bricks, out of nowhere, I felt an immense feeling of grief. This happened to Mauro at the first presentation we ever did about Chiara’s Journey, and since then we have always stood close to one another during any speech, in case the other needs to jump in.
I have shared Chiara’s Journey already so many times before. I have stood before 500 people to deliver a talk about our journey, I have also stood before the Lord Mayor of Melbourne and many others. Yet here I was, about to share a speech of which I felt suddenly speechless.
I cleared my throat a few times and got on my way, but it never really flowed from the start. It felt like I was on the verge of tears after every sentence. It took me by surprise, as I wasn’t feeling any sort of apprehension prior to standing up to speak. My eyes kept focusing on Chiara in the crowd, who was fast asleep in the loving arms of her Nonna. Chiara looked so comfortable and peaceful, her sleeping body doesn’t know Cerebral Palsy, her body sleeps like any other toddler her age.
It reminded me how so many special needs families around the world, are only a few deep breaths away from moments of grief. It’s not to say it’s all-consuming and the only thing they ever experience. Not at all, I can personally vouch for the incredible overflow of love and joy from this life experience. Love is greater than the pain. Yet grief is intrinsically woven into the journey, of watching your child endure things that no child should have to.
Anyhow I got to the end of the talk, and like so many times before, the connection between us all in the room seemed to shift. People came up to me afterwards to offer encouragement, and some also shared their own personal moments of pain and triumph. And I love this. I love that we are all connected through our love and through our pain. It’s what makes us human.
I saw this quote a few days after the event:
“Speak The Truth, Even If Your Voice Shakes”
Sum’s it up!
Here you can hear my voice shaking – lots! A snippet of Natalie’s Speech (Thank You Lena for the footage xo)