Whose story am I trying to tell?

 

In the third year after my aunt’s death, I began to wonder whose life I was living, and whose story I was trying to tell. It occurred to me that much of what poured out in the love room letters were details of my aunt’s life, and mine, interwoven. Sometimes, it was hard to tease the two apart. Here’s an entry that explores that question –

 

3/28/13 a.m.
Here I am, trying to tell your story. But it isn’t mine to share. I can’t claim you, or even tell the long, rich tale of your life. That belonged to you, and now it’s gone. And maybe none of us can claim the journey we think is ours. We belong to the long, brave flowering of the world, unfolding one battered, stupendous petal at a time. Perhaps we can only hope to bloom in the small bright sun of a life, dance in whatever wind blows our way, dizzy with the wrenching joy of a little time and an overwhelming love.

I can’t go back to what is gone. But your life still shimmers inside me. The tangled trail of our family still twines up all around. I am both what went before, and what presses its tenacious self forward, using this body as a home.

So much falls away. But some things stay. The gauzy, lively room we have made out of love is surely one of those.

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