wendy’s throwback post
I really struggled with how much I should share in this post. So I will just share a little … My childhood ended abruptly in 1978, when my family was involved in a serious car accident. I was 7 years old.
Our family at that time consisted of my dad, mom, and little sister. My sister and I were close in age so everyone would ask if we were twins (my mom would often dress us alike), but I remember loving that. In fact, the day of the accident, we had brand new red and white gingham jumpers on that my aunt Betty had sewn for our trip.
That day, both my mother and my sister were killed. My dad and I had very serious injuries so we were still in the hospital when they had the funeral. Coming home I was filled with sorrow, worry, and fear. My dad was an amazing and strong example to me. I got to know him in a way that I hadn’t before. I watched him hold on to his faith and because of him I learned to cope by using prayer and talking to God. I knew that he was there listening and comforting me whenever I was scared or was missing my mom and sister — which was all of the time for a lot of years.
I don’t have many memories of the next several years. One of the things that made those years so difficult was that my mother hadn’t kept a journal or scrapbooks. They (the most important people in my life) were just gone. I feel that I missed out on truly knowing my mother as a woman. If she had just recorded those memories on paper and in photos I would’ve been able to continue to know and understand who she was and how she felt about being a wife and a mother. It’s still hard to think about what that 7-year-old girl lost that day, but I KNOW for certain that I will see them again.
My dad re-married and I gained a new mom, along with a little brother and sister. Life went on. The happy news in all of this is that I also gained so much because of this experience. It made me strong, faith-filled, grateful, and HAPPY; yes, I’m a super happy person most of the time. I have a deep belief in the importance of memory keeping, and I am trying to pass it on to my family and friends.
On two separate occasions I’ve had the privilege of being there for very dear friends as they battled cancer. In each instance, I was able to spend time with them and help them gather those memories while they were in hospice. The first time I wasn’t a scrapbooker and Project Life® wasn’t a thing yet. But because of my past I knew I had to help my sweet girlfriend get those memories down on paper for her two young sons. She had nothing written down and the week I spent with her was filled with laughter and tears, but it was sacred.
More recently, just a couple of weeks ago, I lost another friend to cancer. She was a strong and beautiful human being, but she had so much anxiety over the fact that she didn’t know where her photos were and felt an urgency to get them organized as quickly as possible. I was able to take stacks of supplies to her (thank you, Becky) and encouraged her to write as much down about each and every photo that she could. These memories and her words are now priceless to those who loved her.
I know that our trials do indeed make us stronger and more capable of helping others. I know that taking photos and recording the stories that go with them is more important than most may realize. And I know that this life is hard at times, but it’s beautiful. Documenting our experiences will touch those who come after us.