Letting go

CAM00385If I had to use one word to describe Gramma it would have to be “memory keeper”.  When Gramma went into the assisted living home 10 years ago we sorted through a lot of her belongings then, though we never completed the process.  It wasn’t time.  We still have a few things to go through and will do so when it’s time and thankfully one of my sisters has a rather large basement and room a plenty for storing memories.
We are all grateful for the photographs, cards, newspaper clippings and little things Gramma kept.  They hold such treasure.  As my Uncle Bill stated it,in a letter of Gratitude to Gramma “we feel like we’re important because someone cared enough to take our picture and record our being there”.  Gramma, thank you for keeping the pictures, news paper clippings, cards, letters, Bibles – all an essential component of our family history – the things that give us personality and character, an identity – the things that tell us who we are not just where we came from.  The bits and pieces that fill in the cracks giving insight to the depth of who we are.

Journals

Journals and diaries are private.
They are personal missives written for a variety of reasons, seasons.  Some are meant to be public like St. Therese Story of a Soul but most are meant for private personal use.  To get things out so they no longer have power over us or to help us process our feelings about events.  I’ve kept journals on and off for years.  I can leave them out and open knowing that my husband will not read them.  He won’t even go into my purse to get money.
Years ago I attended journaling retreats with Janie Normile.  I loved these focused journaling times.  I would get to the retreat house, making the book store my 2nd stop get a journal just for the weekend.  There’s nothing like a beautiful book waiting for words.  I’ve also developed a love for good pens, the ones that don’t gunk up when they write fountain pens being my favorite, I digress.
One of the most important things I took away on the journaling weekends: reading another persons journal without their permission is a violation of their privacy.  Reading something about yourself, forming an opinion about that person based on what you read (while violating their privacy) is just wrong.  There is no good way of knowing what was going on with that person.  Ever.
CAM00422One of the things I wanted of Gramma’s was her journals.  Gramma kept journals for fifty plus years.  And here is a photo of what we, my Aunt (her daughter), my sisters, brother and I did with them.  Two huge, full bins.  Gone.  There were a few pages here and there kept – ones that slipped out – birthdays that Gramma recorded.  But for the most part gone.  CAM00426It was important to me to protect her privacy, to keep her as an intact person without the fear of anyone unfairly judging her, her life, her thoughts whatever they were.  They were hers.  I learned a few things about Gramma this week that put some of her life into perspective. It made me so deeply sad and that insight is priceless.  I am forever grateful for that.
I am grateful Gramma for the legacy of keeping things that mattered.
I love you Gramma! Rest in Peace!

Teri

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2 thoughts on “Letting go

  1. You are honoring your Gramma so much with your posts. I love what your family did with her journals; so deep is your love for her.

  2. I understand you did what you and your family know is right. However, I’d encourage everyone to ask the writer what they’d like done with such personal items and then honor that request. A perfect time is when you’re also setting up a Living Will, Health Proxy and Power of Attorney. There is incredible history contained in such personal writing and it is important that such personal musing become accessible to history at the right time. “At the right time” can mean keeping these papers sealed until at least one generation has passed or perhaps longer. As a writer ask yourself why you journal and don’t destroy them as you go along? Each of us has a great deal to share with those that come after us, but the timing is critical.

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