Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Chilly Family Walk

Brisk winds, a sweet little dog named Cindy, a rusty turn style and an ice cream stand serving “American” pizza…closed due to the cold. A garden full of bounty and a cellar packed with hard work and smiles…lot’s and lot’s of smiles.

Tall trees, a rocky beach and a monastery in the distance cresting above a hill.  My Aunt in broken in English tells me my Grandparents visited that monastery…I now want to visit. So many memories trapped, stolen and forgotten…we all listen in close concentration while we visit. We know and understand so little of our family that we do not, will not miss a single breath of what she says…because her breath is filled with precious memories.

World War II stole so much from my family. It caused my family to regard their memories not as old friends to be remembered with laughter, warmth and the occasional embarrassment of youth and folly…but as enemies.

What makes a memory an enemy? Is it the nightmares? The remembrance of loved ones lost? The sight of a missing hand or the glance at a photograph of the home you watched burn to the ground. Is it the recollection of the baseness to which humanity can fall or simply the refusal to look your past in the eye and accept what happened?

This generation of my family is slowly leaving, going to a place where I hope these memories will be washed away but sadly this leaves a hole in my life...my heart. So I continue listening to each breath…even when the language barrier is difficult. Each breath gives me a greater understanding of myself, a girl trying to understand where she came from. Each breath describing how my family survived and how the memories never spoken of shaped my life. Each breath intensifying my respect, love and admiration for the women who came before me. These women did not simply “scrap” their memories, they battled them, on a battlefield of the mind we can only imagine.


- Katie

1 comment:

  1. even though they may not all be fond memories of their past, at least they are able to share them with you and you can pass on your family history to future generations... it's such a blessing to be able to share time and memories with family...


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