We’ve all been at the family dinner table when an elder launches into THAT story-the one that gets dragged out every holiday and several times in between.
Often our eyes roll and we exchange knowing glances with the younger set as if to say, “Here we go again!”
But we point our faces toward the speaker, lean in and lap it up.
Because we know this story is important to her or else she wouldn’t be sharing it again.
You learn a lot about your parents and grandparents, older aunts and uncles by listening carefully to the stories that have stuck around in a head that finds it hard to remember what the body had for breakfast.
Some of the stories are wonderful. Sweet, sweet memories of special times and special friends; of younger years and youthful dreams.
Some of the stories are tragic. The baby brother or sister who only lived a few days or months. The mother that died too soon because there were no drugs to treat a common condition. The friend that never came home from the war.
The stories are windows into souls.
Some of us have stories that need telling NOW. We can’t wait until our age guarantees us a captive audience.
Because telling the stories helps our hearts.
A fellow bereaved mom who has a gift for finding exquisite quotes found this one:
Sometimes I think that if it were possible to tell a story often enough to make the hurt ease up, to make the words slide down my arms and away from me like water, I would tell that story a thousand times.
~Anita Shreve, The Weight of Water
Every time I tell the story of Dominic, it helps to keep him real.
It reminds my heart that he lived, that he mattered, that he matters still.
Living on a farm I’ve buried a lot of things in this Alabama dirt, I never thought my brother would be one of them. I miss you so much Hector Dominic DeSimone! ~Julian DeSimone
And in the telling, I am giving away a little bit of him for another heart to carry. His light is passed to another soul that can pass it to another and another.
It doesn’t really take away the hurt and sorrow, but it does help me bear it.
So if I launch into the same old rendition of my favorite memories of my missing son, bear with me.
Be a witness.
Help me carry the burden.