I have had several conversations with my husband recently, and eventually conversations with two of my sisters. These conversations were about family memories… and what happens to those memories as people move away or pass away. I was born and raised in Illinois but married young and moved to South Carolina when I was 21. I now live in North Carolina amongst my husband’s family. We often see his nieces and nephews, and “greats,” and even “great-greats.” (Because my husband’s brothers were much older, his nieces and nephews are our age.) And I am very grateful for the loving acceptance of my Rierson family!
“You ain’t from around here, are you?”
“No, I’m not; but I got here as soon as I could!”
Every time we get together becomes a time of story-telling. I love hearing so much about my husband’s life before I knew him, stories about raising hogs and tobacco, cutting up with his nephews and brothers, extended family camping trips and lots of water skiing… family events and family dynamics that made him the man I fell in love with. With several recent losses in the family, those stories have become especially poignant and meaningful.
The telling and retelling of those stories keeps the collective memory alive and well. After a recent dinner with several of his family members, I mentioned to my husband that I miss those conversations with and about my family. I moved quite a distance away from my family at a relatively young age. Trips back were infrequent; and it was even more infrequent that my other sisters were home as well. Without the retelling of family stories, I fear I am losing them; and I know I don’t share them with my daughter nearly enough. I want her to know her family history.
And so, I will tell my girl some stories. My memory may be faulty, and my perspective may not be the same as my sisters’, but the stories need to be told. Like many families, our relationships are not perfect, perhaps there is healing in sharing our stories.
With the power of social media, I am hoping for input from sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins and more! If you are reading this and have memories you would like me to share, feel free to comment on this blog or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first official story to follow soon!
“You don’t choose your family.
They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
– Desmond Tutu