Monday, November 2, 2009

Writing the Journey And Trading Nothing For The Time

I took an afternoon to get away and reflect on life.

I started writing my memoir. Funny the thing that happens to you when you start to write down the story. Memories knocked on the door that I had closed long ago, demanding to be opened and heard and acknowledged. Some were good, some were bad, all are history.

It struck me over the weekend as I spent time with my living children on Saturday and mourned my deceased son on Sunday, that life is a drama. I love to read, often drawn to the human interest real-life stories of ordinary people. It reminded me of how much we impact others. It also reminded me of a strength that I did not often acknowledge.

A wise friend told me, toward the end of my day of reflection, that there is still purpose to pursue. My heart skipped a beat and my eyes teared up in acceptance. Many are the words still to be written.

I hold a memorial for my son every year, each year changes on how I choose to reflect, but I do it because like my Jewish friends who have the tradition of Kaddish for the dead, it gives me pause to honor life. There wasn't a candle to light but words to scribe. An amethyst stone from the museum to sit in memory. Sunshine radiated through the changing leaves of Forest Park, a smile raining down from above.

The unfolding of days and the melting of months happens quickly. We are only here for a moment, a whisper of time, a breath. In that time, I wonder, how many of us truly consider the space between the dashes. The beginning we do not know of for we were only infants pushing out into a world, it was before memory. The ending we do not know about the time or place or method because we are not divine. It is simply the middle, the dash, where we can have the most affect. I determined in 1982 to make that dash relevant and significant and that my son's death would not be in vain.

My journey has taken me to some dark places and some wonderful places. There have been some deeply painful times and some times of complete joy. I have lived long enough that my son is about to be a father. Another generation is forming in the womb. This is celebration.

I have also lived long enough to know that writing down the spaces is part of my purpose. Even as I wrote the things behind the door yesterday, I also remembered that while my story is unique to me, it is like the wise Solomon, in his waning days, wrote in Ecclesiastes. "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new." Ecclesiastes 1:9 NLT.

But we chronicle and write anyway because there are lessons in this life. My experiences of life and death at 18 gave me the heart and words to share with my grandson's mother. She is almost 20 and having her first son. What a confusing and joyous and wondrous time. Having walked the path she is on gave me the power to tell her she would forever be in my life, never neglected or abandoned or ignored, she is becoming a mother. Revered, honored, and cherished for bringing another life into this family.

The journey is the thing. Truly. And I wouldn't take anything for mine now.

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