Mom began writing her life story a long while ago. I would gently guess a good 40 years ago. At times she would pull out this pile of papers and give them a second look. Her dream was to leave a book about her life for my brother and me, and other family members. Mom being rather shy, never pushed the idea. Feeling less than confident, she would tuck the transcript away for another season.
"Who is going to want to read this anyway?" Mom would say time and again.
A couple years ago the subject came up again and I realized how important this was to my mom. I looked at the papers once more and saw many pages filled with little side notes and words scratched out in red. It would take some serious deciphering to make heads or tails out of this 40 year old manuscript, but I knew I had to tell my mom's story.
The urge to transcribe my mom's story became very strong. It was like a little voice was telling me to do it now! I told my mom and dad that I was going to start working on mom's story. They were thrilled, but little did I know that something inside of me was about to change forever.
I opened the big brown envelope and saw the pages neatly put together with mom's rather messy handwriting. I am sure when she was writing her autobiography that she did not think anyone would see it but her. Surprisingly, I found where my eldest daughter had started to rewrite it neater, but had stopped in the middle, never finishing it. I remember a few years ago when my daughter took on this challenge, but marriage and babies took over, so once again this little bundle of papers was tucked away for a future time.
I began to type the first chapter and the story of my mother's miraculous birth began to play like a movie inside my head. Mommy was born a twin, weighing a little over a pound, but sadly her twin brother did not make it nor her beloved mother who died shortly after giving birth. My mom's father passed away a year later to bone cancer, leaving her and many sibling's without parents. The younger children were dispersed to family members. Some of the older children that were married took on a couple younger children to raise. My tears began to flow. How sad for an entire family, mere babies, to lose their parents and to be separated as a family.
My mother was considered a special needs baby and could not live with her siblings, so she was taken in by a nurse and her husband, who cared for her the first six months of her life. When she was well enough to come home, her dad, my grandfather, was too sick to care for her or the other children. Her father's sister took my mom and raised her as her own. They would become my grandparents that I so dearly loved.
It took me three days of typing and correcting until I had 12 chapters of wonderful dialog from my mom about her life and over 10,000 words.
I took the transcript over to my parents' house where they read the first two chapters. I watched as my mom cried and could not speak. My dad held back his tears, as he too was so happy that my mom's story would be told.
While it may never be a best seller, it is the story of one dear woman named Dahlas, our Georgia peach, and my mother.
I explained I was not done and I wanted them to go through it, making changes or adding anything they felt important.
There was one story that I remembered which had to be added. It was when we named my mom's twin brother a few years ago, as he had never been given a proper name nor a gravestone where he was buried.
My mom’s brother had laid in an unmarked grave all these years. I remembered a few years ago sitting at the table with my mom and how she so desperately wanted to name her twin brother.
We began to think of boy names. We came up with Nathaniel David. My father and my mom went back to Georgia and placed a gravestone on the unmarked grave of my mom’s twin. My mom could now find peace in her heart, knowing her twin brother had a name and a gravestone.
While these little details would not mean anything to anyone else, they were so important to my mom, so that is why this story had to be told.
We all laughed as mom and dad began to recall funny stories of when they first got married. I watched as they giggled out loud with each memory they recanted. I could see the love between them. I saw first hand what 50 years of marriage looked like.
Sweet memories that they had forgotten were now calling them to remember once again. I was determined to catch each one and write them down.
I left their house with a great big smile and feeling quite satisfied. I did leave them with a big homework assignment. They must remember the good times and the bad, so that I could transpose their memories for ever in time.
I wanted to share my mom's story, as I know many of you also have a story to tell of a loved one. It is never too late to share a loved ones life. I promise it will forever change your life because sometimes parents do not share things openly or they forget.
I found out precious tidbits I never knew about my parents and about me. Some questions were answered that I was afraid to ask before now. You do not have to be a writer to place memories to a page. It is something that will be passed down to the next generation.
I learned that my meek, sweet mother was probably the most courageous woman I will have ever met. I know now that meekness is not a sign of weakness but a sign of wisdom and strength.
By writing my mom's story, I can say that my life somehow came full circle, a legacy I will cherish forever.