There is an old saying that I have referenced in my stories from time to time. It is–‘They say a soldier dies twice. Once when he physically dies. Second time is when his or her story stops being told.”
I have always felt that it is so powerful that it is unfair to put into words what it means because whatever I write, will still come up far short.
Here is where this all hits home for me. My mother had a bevy of friends growing up. There were about eight of them that were thicker than thieves and my goodness, they had some great adventures I was told. Pretty sure I wasn’t told all of the stories and I understand that. My kids will hear some, but not all, of my adventures.
When my mom passed away in June of 2011, a few of those girls were still alive and told me more stories about their escapades and my God, was my heart full.
Then one them passed away and part of that story would be gone forever. It is okay, I told myself, others are still alive and they are a living connection to my mom.
Then another passed away it started to affect me because that is another part of story that is silenced forever.
This past week, I got word that another one of her dear friends, the last one that knew all the stories, passed away. To say I was crushed, would be an understatement. That last living connection to my mom and that part of her life, was gone.
Years ago, I wrote an article about dealing with Alzheimer’s and the toll it takes on a family. My mother was still alive, she would pass a month later, and a ton of people reached out sharing their own stories and it was both heartbreaking and uplifting. One of my mom’s friends that had not talked to her in decades, also reached out to me after seeing the article. She had pictures of my mom in elementary school, and junior high that I had never seen before and it was beautiful. She knew all the stories well and it was great hearing them.
Last week, Miss Shirley passed away and I was devastated. A co-worker saw that I was pretty upset and asked what was wrong. I explained everything and she said, “of course you will be upset. That was a living connection to your mom.”
Now, those stories are over. Forever. Those connections in that inner circle have all passed on. The ones who remember those days before life get a hold of them are no longer here.
But, I got to hear those stories. All of them and for that, I am forever grateful.