The importance of story, but mainly of family

Katie is breathing her last. She came to the nursing home a few days before my mother and they were the new girls together. I love her dearly, and she told me many a story of the old days when her parents died and left her an orphan at the age of 13. She and her 16-year-old brother raised their three younger brothers alone, under the watchful eye of a few neighbors who tried to help as they could. This was the Depression, after all, and families had their own troubles to deal with.

I found Katie much worse today, but asleep and in no pain. Her son and his wife had been with her most of the night and were coming back from taking a break when I arrived. They thanked me again for writing her childhood stories into a book. Their pastor had a copy and was reading it in preparation for the funeral we know will come soon. As sad as we are she is leaving us, we know we will always remember her by her stories, printed and bound fast to our hearts.

In her last days
Life seems exquisitely sweet
She dreams of lilies?
They bloom in the garden
The one that awaits her

 

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About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), and cats
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9 Responses to The importance of story, but mainly of family

  1. Touching indeed. I think you underplayed your thoughts about having scribed her life. That must be especially rewarding just now.

  2. Jennifer Hopkins says:

    What a touching post, Linda. I know when I walk through the halls at the home that each of the residents has an amazing lifetime of stories. Thanks for taking the time to capture them. I’m sorry my Nana is too far gone to remember her stories.

  3. Thank you all. Yes, it was very rewarding to save Katie’s stories, especially as her family was so happy with the book. Yes, Jennifer, I wish everyone would have their stories written, even just some stories, because oral histories aren’t passed down anymore.

  4. krpooler says:

    Linda, What a beautiful tribute to Katie. You must feel so honored to have captured her stories in this volume. Thank you for sharing this poignant vignette. It is a treasure for her family as well as others. I agree with Sharon, I think you downplayed your contribution to the legacy she is leaving. It is a remarkable gift!

  5. Thanks, Kathy. I feel humble, actually, doing my little part in capturing a piece of history that is momentous for some.

  6. Pingback: The importance of story, but mainly of family | moonbridgebooks | MemoirMidwife

  7. Oh, what a heartfelt post. As much as I see residents passing away, I still grieve every one of them. One is never fully prepared to say good-bye. The book was such a noble project. You are a good soul!

  8. Yes, that’s the big drawback of hanging out at nursing homes, Doris, but spending time with our elder friends is well worth our inevitable tears, as you know. At the funeral, Katie’s son said he’ll have to order more books as people have been asking.

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