Healing Part II: Emily Dickinson and Sea Turtles

This healing process has doubled as a learning process. I’m still sifting through it, but I’m getting there. More (genuine) smiles and less tears have been happening, so progress is evident.

I’ve made it a point to create time for myself among all of the chaos, due to great advice from a couple of wonderful friends. I chose to forgo some responsibilities over the last few weeks, which was completely unnatural, but really good. Whether that meant I opted to scroll through Pinterest in bed, or clean my room top to bottom, or flip through poetry books, I did something that allowed me to relax. It helped, and I’m so glad I took that advice.

Of course, on the flip side, there have still been some extremely hard days (the day I’m writing this included). However, I’m learning to cope with this new sort of loss, all the while trying to keep progressing, no matter how slow. Two things have reoccurred over these quests to take time for myself and progress: Emily Dickinson and Sea Turtles. And it’s been the perfect combination.


Speaking of poetry books, this one has been a go-to:

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On one of my first good days during Week Two post-crisis, an Emily Dickinson quote entered my mind:

“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain…

And as much as I absolutely adore this quote all on its own, I felt like I needed to add something to fit my situation:

… [and maybe it will be my own].”

Yes, my situation broke my heart to pieces, but here I am, resolving to not let it continue to be broken. Thus, became this image you may recognize from Part I:

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Now, another piece of hers was close to my heart all through these last few weeks: her poem, “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers”:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

(Source: poetryfoundation.org)

I flat-out did NOT want anything to do with hope in the beginning of all of this. But, it kept its foot in the door and pushed its way in. The things I’ve been hoping for have evolved, but the foundational concept has remained the same. It hasn’t stopped at all, and in fact, I’m letting it sing louder than ever.

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A strange little bird on the lake one day… I loved it!

My mom took me on a shopping trip after a doctor appointment one day, and while at the register of a very eclectic store, I looked down and saw a cute little sea turtle trinket for sale. It was the last one. At the last second, I added it to my purchase. I couldn’t tell you why. Later that day, I purchased a beautiful ceramic, hand-painted sea turtle on Etsy. There was something so strong drawing me to them, and when I sat back talking to a friend later in the week, it hit me.

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Little trinket sea turtle

When sea turtles hatch, that must be one of the scariest moments of their lives. They’re out there in the world, on there own, something totally new. That’s where I am. And I froze for minute, but baby sea turtles don’t have that kind of time. They immediately flip themselves over and start moving toward the sea, to where they belong. In the scariest, most unpredictable moment of their lives, they get a move on and keep going until they get there.

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Ceramic sea turtle

That’s what I need to do right now. I’m in a very vulnerable situation, much like the little turtles, and I need to move (on). I need to move in the direction of where I belong (in God’s plan for me). And no matter how scared I am, I need to go. I need to keep going toward His plan, my ocean. I need to find my inner sea turtle, and you know what? I think I have.


This is how I’m coping. This is how I’m functioning. This is how I’m moving on: Emily Dickinson, Sea Turtles, and of course, church. I can’t put into words how wonderful my church family has been in this time; their prayers and their support have helped immeasurably. It’s just so comforting to feel so supported in every environment in my life. I am so grateful. But getting my worship on has caused me to feel the best I’ve felt in all of the four weeks so far, and that is beautiful. We’re keeping it moving, like the sea turtles, closer to God and to healing.

Much Love, Quinn

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