It has been gray for days in Minnesota. The mornings are layered with dark clouds, the sky so full and heavy that it falls low to rest on the earth. In the auspices of dawn, in the early breaths of a new day, highways and schoolyards, our very homes, become the backdrop to anything and anywhere at all.
The children we know and love reach out to us with ghostly hands from the places where we dream and the places where our dreams turn into life.
Nearly a year since we started, we are putting together the final words to What God Is Honored Here? We have grown older and wiser since this journey began in a different year, on a different day, in a moment where the sky and the earth were divided by a banner of loneliness, a width of invisible space that held us each tight in our bubbles of grief. Now we stand, sisters on earth, looking up at all the bubbles of our lost loves floating high above our heads, trying to feel for the direction of the wind, hopeful that the possibilities within those bubbles, now clad in the words of their mothers, will travel far beyond all of us.
This book has been a blessing of friendship and sisterhood, of solidarity and solace as we welcomed the stories of the women in this collection into our hearts and our homes. This book has been a gift.
To the people at the University of Minnesota Press, particularly Erik Anderson, our editor: you made a difficult journey smooth, paved the hard ground so we could travel without the hurts that are so often a part of this industry.
To all the women out there waiting for this book and finding it in the world: we were always writing for you first. You are our imagined sisters and our dear friends in this journey of womanhood, forces of joy and sorrow, brave spirits carrying forth life and love, even in the face of heartbreaking loss.
To our families: we are so lucky to be loved and supported by you on this adventure that is our life together.
From Shannon: Thank you to Boisey, Sianneh, and Marwein, for always grounding me in this life, and in time and space, and for guiding me and teaching me to continue to open, share, and learn, even when it is very difficult. Thanks to all Sister Friends, family, and community far and near for taking care of me when I could not take care of myself; special thanks to Bobbi Chase Wilding, Taiyon Coleman, Kathleen DeVore, Shalini Gupta, Juliana Hu Pegues, Jae Ran Kim, Sue Gibney, Jim Gibney, Dagny Hanner, and Karen Hausdoerffer. Thanks to the midwife team at Health Foundations for going above and beyond, and standing with me through it all.
From Kalia: Thank you to Thayeng, Yuepheng, Shengyeng, and Baby Jules, for the softness you offered in the gift of having been part of me, for the grace you give in the face of my mistakes, and for living my truths and my tragedies, for being—always—my dearest reminders of why this life matters and means so much for the future. Thank you to my mother, whose life story teaches me who and how I can be in the face of tremendous hardship and pain, who frees me up from judgment so I can experience the fullness that is life without misgivings or regret.
Kalia in St. Paul and Shannon in Minneapolis, January 15, 2019