Amber Steenbock

May 1, 1977 - December 17, 2014

Daniel's Gift

This is something Amber wrote in 2006 as a gift to me.  I contemplated and prayed long and hard about which private things to share here and which should remain private forever.  I am compelled to share this one (and another one called Truths to Treasure) because it most clearly demonstrates that she was not just a girl in a wheelchair.  She was a beautiful, thoughtful and sensual woman with all of the rights, privileges, and desires of any other woman.  She had an overwhelming need for that to be understood and acknowledged.

I remember your eyes.
How they shone, how they
drew me into them.

Your voice, how it laughed,
how it shook with nervous joy
and promised me without words
that all of our stories could come true.

Your kiss, the first time I came to know
with our very breath
how much you loved me
and how very worthy I was
to receive love.

Your hands, with their loving power
to show me all that I could reach out and take,
all that I deserved, and
all that I could let go of.

God, how I wish I hadn't stopped you then.

But I was scared.
Not of your power,
but of my own.

In that moment, I felt my own strength and secret power
for the first time in my life.
And I was terrified that
it would blow me apart.

I wonder if you understood this.
I don't know, but you stopped
the instant I asked you to.
And so again, I knew I was loved.

And then the hell that followed.
Still, I knew that I was loved,
even through your hurt and
that if you knew what was going on,
you would come back and take me away from it.

So, every night for years,
first I prayed to Jesus.
and I prayed for you.

Begging that you would at least know
that I loved you and that this ache was not my choice.

And the instant I was free,
I began searching, even as
I had to continue with my life.

Then there was Toby Keith.
How badly I want to thank that man someday!

For I have been given a second chance.
A friendship,
a love, however we define it, a connection,
a treasure of higher value than anything in the world.

Tears of gratitude stream even now.
That I again know your voice.
That I will soon relearn your hug,
and possibly your kiss and my own secret power.

But what I most want to see is the joy
in your eyes that drew me in the first place.

What I most want to do is hold you
quiet for hours
in freedom beyond speech
beyond the coverings that society wishes
they could hide us with.

Thank you for being in my life,
my greatest Christmas gift in 10 years at least.
And for the love and acceptance and everything you bring.

The world, my world,
would be so much darker without you.

May this year bring you nothing but
joy and happiness, and many
cloudless skies and shiny days;
a prelude to nights where you feel safe but small,
a tiny piece of string
under an infinite blanket of stars.

Copyright © 1995-2014 Amber Steenbock
Copyright © 2015 Daniel P. Stasinski and Contributors
Contributed content used with permission.
Additional content used with attribution.