Today I got up and wrote out a grocery shopping list, then went to work out, met my sweetie at the market where we shopped and then together made some soup to put in the crock pot for dinner tonight. Now I am sitting at my computer writing, and he is watching football. This is a pretty typical Sunday for us, nothing unusual. Except it's not a typical Sunday at all. It is a day filled with memories.
Today, as a nation, we remember those lost ten years ago. I was on my way to work, listening to NPR when the first plane hit. I remember thinking it was a freak accident. I arrived at work and didn't hear any further reports until after the second plane had hit and someone came into our office and announced what had happened. We spent the rest of the day huddled around radios and TVs trying to comprehend all the ways our world had just changed and not even coming close.
Daddy's Little Girl
Today as a daughter, I remember my father who would have celebrated his 80th birthday today. Just a few days ago marked fifteen years since his death. It was three weeks into my first semester of college, and I was finally starting to feel settled in, like I would make some friends and make the most of my college experience. I came back to my hall to find my aunt and uncle in that tiny room I shared with three other girls waiting to break the news. I was numb for so long after that, trying to sift through a raw grief for a man who I loved, but who had such a different world view from the one I had grown into. We weren't on the best of terms when he passed, and I found myself grieving not just for him, but for the opportunity to restore our relationship to the way it once had been.
Me and my big brother
Today, I grieve as a sister, as this day also marks four weeks since my brother unexpectedly passed away. Today I think of his young children who very likely won't remember much about their father as they grow older. This adds to my grief. So it becomes the responsibility of those of us who do remember to share stories of not just their father, but of their grandfather who they never got to meet. We are the memory keepers. We pass stories on, often casually, not conscious of the fact that we may be giving a precious gift to the listener.
Writers are usually more deliberate with the stories we tell and by writing our stories down, they stand a greater chance of lasting for generations. We are the memory keepers.
Our nation, our world, will never forget 9/11. Ten years passed in the blink of an eye and there is now a whole generation of young people who don't remember -- who don't know what it was to exist in a pre-9/11 world. Who cannot fully comprehend what it was to witness the tragedy of that day as it unfolded before us. But it gives me comfort that the stories of 9/11 are being told. Survivors, family and friends of those lost, rescue workers. Those who witnessed it firsthand, and those who were 1000 miles away. All have stories to tell -- either from that day or stories honoring the memory of someone they lost. It is so important that so many of these stories are being written down in books and blogs, private journals, emails and letters -- they are being written, guaranteeing that as the decades continue to pass, they will not be forgotten.
Easter Best (yes, my dress matches my bunny's)
As long as I write about my father and my brother, both stories I remember and stories that have been told to me, then my brother's children will know their father and their grandfather. They will know of camping trips and good-natured teasing. They will know about road trips from Colorado to Kansas every summer, and fireworks on my grandparents' farm. They will know about watching the Denver Broncos on Sundays. They will know about the Transformer vs. My Little Pony wars that were waged in our living room. They will know about the time my father surprised me by delivering a box full of giant ice cream bars shaped like feet to my second grade classroom so I could celebrate my birthday with my classmates.
I feel driven to write it all down so that no only can my brother's children know our family stories, but so that their children and their children's children will know and never forget. And maybe some of them will be inspired to take on the duty of being a memory keeper as well. Write down your memories, keep them for always, share them with those you love, and those you love will never be forgotten.
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