MUSHROOM m i n d

By Steph Raymond All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Poetry



“Do you wish that never happened to you?”

Her niece was looking at her with her wide brown eyes.

So serious, and so genuine.


Gemma asked her smiling.

“When you were like this.”

She stood very still for a moment, looking straight ahead with her arms steady at her side.

“What do you mean?”


When I saw you at the hospital

and you couldn’t move like this.”

She stayed unmoving for another second,

“do you wish that never happened to you?”

She looked into her nieces eyes and wondered

how a five year old could think things so complex about people and the world around her.

She was an old soul with a

h e a l i n g e n e r g y ,

in all the beautiful ways she knew her own son was.

And though she would never know it, it was her

l i g h t

that first saved Gemma’s life.

When she left University and came home.

When there was no reason for her to get out of bed in the morning...

there she was.


Her sister was also living at home for the first year of her daughter’s life.

To this day Gemma remains thankful that she was.

Because she became her reason to wake up when opening her eyes seemed too painful a task.

As soon as she heard a laugh or cry from the little girl with the

b r i g h t e y e s ,

she had a reason to get out of bed.

Now here she was, five years later and more beautiful every day.

“No.” Gemma told her, still smiling,

“I’m glad it happened, do you know why?”

Rayne shook her head.

“When a bad thing happens that we can’t control,

it can teach us something.

And you know what?

Now I am stronger and more patient than I was before

. And you know what else?”


“I learned that if we choose to be happy no matter what,

we can make it through anything.”

She smiled and her niece wrapped her arms around Gemma’s neck the way she always did.

“I love you so much tata.”

She told her.

Gemma smiled,

“I love you more.”

“You guys ready?”

Gemma’s dad pops his head in the trailer.


Gemma grabbed Rayne’s hand to meet the rest of the family outside.

Gemma was happy to be able to bring both Caleb and their son with her to the camp ground she grew up on.

It was Sunday morning,

and the camp ground had a tabernacle on sight which they used to host sermons

and welcome speakers from around the globe to share a message.

Today it was a man from New Brunswick.

It had been years since Gemma had been in a church by now,

but she always enjoyed coming here.

Last year a woman spoke about

accepting people as they are

instead of trying to fit them into boxes

to make ourselves more comfortable.

Gemma looked forward to what she would hear about this summer.

“Okay, I have a confession.”

The man at the front begins once everyone is settled in their seats,

“I’ve had this planned out for weeks,

but I have to hold off for a second.”

He pauses to look seriously at the people sitting in front of him,

“This morning, I set my alarm for five o’clock,

wanting to go over my notes for today

to be properly prepared but something happened.”

Forest begins to fuss and so Caleb quietly offers to bring him outside to play.

“I became distracted.”

The man continued.

“Does that ever happen to you?

You read or hear something,

and suddenly this feeling takes over that you can’t ignore?”

Gemma absentmindedly nods her head.

“Well I came across the word Vindication this morning.

And I don’t know why,

but I feel like someone here needs to hear this.

I’ve been feeling this all morning.”

He began to pace now,

“So as you can see,

I’ve spent most of my morning thinking about this word.

So what does it mean?

Well, Vindication means

to clear someone of blame or suspicion.

Is that speaking to anyone right now?”

Gemma obeyed the heavy urge to raise her hand and the man looked straight after.

“Oh good.”

He paused,

“Sorry to ask, but does the date august eighteenth

hold any significance for you?”

Gemma’s mind immediately recognized the date as her husband’s birthday,

but also the date that she was officially diagnosed with

type 2 bipolar disorder.

She only shook her head to indicate yes without offering information.

“Well I’ve just got to tell you,

that it seems like you feel alone right now,

and that your family might be questioning you

but I just want you to know that you will have vindication

and their eyes will be opened.”

Gemma smiled and felt a chill pass through her slowly.

A chill that would

r e s o n a t e and t r a n s f o r m

into warmth.

Her family was awed by the otherworldly occurrence, this proof of God.

But Gemma was not shocked by this confirmation, almost as though she felt it coming.

And maybe soon, the people in her life would really see her.


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