As a writing teacher, I often have my students write memoir/nonfiction pieces. In the beginning, most students want to write strictly about themselves.
One of the lessons I teach them is that other people help shape who we are through their words to us, their actions, or their lack of action.
Your assignment for this week is to write about a memory of yourself WITH someone else.
Need a way to start?
This is what I give my students…
His/her name was ______________________ and looking back now, I realize….
Remember, it’s MEMOIR, so it needs to be about YOUR experience with this person and it needs to be TRUE.
Let’s keep it to 600 words or less.
Her name was Nancy, and looking back now I realize she was one of the bright spots in my shadowed world. She was my mother in law.
The first time I met her I was 15. And as a typical 15 year old I didn't think she liked me. So, of course her son decided to share that with her. The next time I saw here she handed me a bouquet of flowers. And from then on, I knew not only did she like me, but she loved me.
She was a beautiful woman. My daughter reminds me so much of her. She had this exotic beauty. It is pretty amazing all that we experienced together. I saw so many sides of her over the years. I was her friend, her daughter, and her daughter in law all wrapped in one.
She had a mischievous side. She would get this smile and you knew she was up to something. She had a serious side, a quiet side, a silly side...and a deeply spiritual side.
It is that spiritual side that impacted my world more than any other. She wasn't perfect, she made mistakes, she made poor choices....but she always showed her love of God, and when she needed forgiveness for those poor choices she was open and honest about it.
As a young girl I was very confused by things that were spiritual. She saw that in me. She took the time to share with me, allowed me to challenge her and allowed me to feel and express my frustration with all the different ideas that had been presented to me. She was patient and took the time to walk me through the confusion. She presented the greatest gift of all to me...she showed me and helped me to understand that it wasn't about churches, rules, regulations...it was about a relationship. She showed me in words, and in deeds.
She stood by me as I grew in that walk. She was there to pick up the pieces when I made the wrong turns. Nancy always loved me through. She loved me through the struggles of a young marriage and its mistakes, even though it was her son I was married to. An outsider looking in wouldn't know that I was the daughter in law, they would be certain I was hers.
One of my most spiritual moments in my life was at the end of her life. We all gathered in the hospital room. She had hung on until we all arrived. And then the singing began. Beautiful songs covered the air. A spirit filled that room, you could feel it all around you. A peace entered into the sorrow and loss we were experiencing, and the smile on her lips as she left us helped us to know she was entering into a place she was ready for....she was headed home.
Nancy left so much behind for me. Even now, divorced from her son, and all the scars left from it. Nancy resides, her spirit and soul, deep in my heart. Her love still speaks to me. I look forward to the day when I can run into her arms again and thank her for all she has meant to me.