Life story

Tell me your story

Tell me the story of your life

This is what I would ask my Dad and Mom if I ever had the chance, its the request I would make in the final days.

It can’t be answered in less than a lifetime, thats why I would ask it of someone getting ready to pass. Because answering it would keep them here, with us.

Its a selfish thing to do, i know. But, I’d ask so they would stay a bit more.

You can picture the conversation, monitors beeping slowly, a frail hand being held. Most of us can picture it, many of us have lived it. No words are in the air, but the story is being told. Through memories, gentle squeezes of the hand, a careful brushing of thin hair from the forehead, no words pass between, but once anger has passed, once the pleadings are done, we begin assembling our memories of them as we hold that hand.

The hand that was strong, the hand that was skilled, the hand that was stern, and the hand that lifted you up when you had fallen. Thats the hand you hold now as you ask “Tell me your story.”

They can’t of course, the tiny blips on the monitors make it clear, the experts have said that they’ve gone in mind, and just remain in body. But the spirit, the story of their life remains. It passed from them to you through the holding of their hand, as it did to each person they touched throughout the years. The story of their life is distributed, in the cloud as the computer people say, in the cloud that was their life, swirling around so many of us every day.

Now the last chapter of their story has been passed to you. You may not have wanted it, you may want to give it back to them, but you can’t. Its in your hand now.

In the difficult times that follow the handing of their life story to you, your job is to gather the pieces of their story, from family, friends, caregivers, anyone who comes by to offer their respects. An offering they make because a life touched theirs.

Gather the story as best you can. It may take years before you can tell it. But it is important. Because its now part of your story.

So before you leave, tell me your story. Tell me about that time they lifted you up, how they sympathized with you but were gently (or directly) telling you to get your life going again, or the time they sang with you, or got you back in line, or made something with you. Tell me about their favorite foods, what they loved about the holidays, and how those birthday parties you organized for them warmed them for much of the years that followed. Speak about their families, and the stories they told about growing up. Tell it all so others hear about them, so you hear it too.

And in the future years around this time, think of the story of their life. Its fullness. Its depth. Tell it with friends and family as best you can. Friends will add to it when you get to the hard parts, thats what friends will do if you let them. We all need help that way, especially during the hard parts, let friends and family tell part of the story then. It will help them too.

And in between, live your story. Pass it on to others when life gives that chance.

Our lives wind around each other every day. The winding helps strengthen life I think.

Be safe and listen to their stories,

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