Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Longing For Their Words

I wish I had my mother's words.

Something, anything in her own handwriting. Her thoughts, her heart, her wonderings.

The older I get and the more I look at my precious children, the more I know that if I do not leave my words behind, I've left them without an important piece of life. They need to know more about me than being their mother, the same I want to know more about my mother, the same as I want to have my father's words. They need to know their heritage.

I tell my children a lot about our family, in the oral history tradition. They know volumes. Will they remember to tell these stories to their own children? Will I remember them when I am old and the hair is gray and the memory is feeble?

It is hard to think about leaving this world, it is not a topic most Americans want to ponder, yet, like all things, it will happen inevitably. What do I want my children to know of me? How much can they handle? Who do I want them to remember?

My mother died when I was only four years old. Long before memory could be established like the cornerstone of my mansion, she was gone. All I have are the fading muses of my elderly aunt and scraps of phrases from people who knew her. I want an entire picture, a volume.

Someone told me once that I may not like her, that I may have had conflict with her like a lot of mother-daughter relationships. That may be true, my response, yet, I wanted to have had the opportunity to find out. Much like my two daughters and I, they have memory of me, they will know my story.

My story would be more than one volume. I know I'd write one for the sons, one for the daughters. They can not each understand the complete parts of me. Each of my children understands me in a different way, much the way someone would experience a written work, in my own knowledge.

There are questions I have yet to answer, questions that will follow me to the grave. I wish I had my mother's words and my father's thoughts. My heart longs to to know them as people.

I am forty-five, a year past the age my mother breathed her last. I will be a grandmother before I am forty-six, something my mother never lived to see. The coming generation brings the need to write it down, to leave the volumes, to give them words to connect for all time.

Memories are powerful entries. I wish I had recorded all the words my children. I long for the words of my ancestors. I must write because they must live.

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