“When a story is told it is not forgotten, but becomes something else, a memory of who we were, the hope of what we can become.” – from the movie “Sarah’s Key”
My whole life, I have listened to people tell me stories. To me, there is nothing stranger or more compelling than the truth of someone’s life. Each life has a unique ‘something’ to it. Something which breathes into nourishes it and defines it. The first breath always starts in the past. Like the above quote, the story itself has a life and can give life to others.
My grandfather died when I was in my early 20’s. I think, in a way, he knew he was going to die. The year before he passed, I was visiting him in Waco, Texas and he put me to work helping arrange all the family photos into large photo books. He was not a man who would have thought to write down his history. He would have considered it egotistic, I am sure. But on that day, I know he told me some stories. I was so young and absorbed with my silly life that I can’t remember anything we talked about. All I recall from that day at his dining room table, are his hands. I remember them so distinctly. I wish those hands had written something down. A memoir of his life and the life of his family. There were so many stories about him, but nothing I heard came from him. I know his life was layered with the many lives Now, I am a writer, and I so wish he was alive so he could tell me his story. I want to tell it to my daughter. To give her hope of what she can become.
Our stories are important; they are for those who we leave behind. Only as a reminder of who we were and who we wanted to be. They need to be told, if not to release the past from our selves but also so that we can let them be guides for others if they find themselves on the same path.