“I am a part of all I have read.” —John Kieran
As we approached the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I am reminded of family. Our theme, “Where We Come From: the Influence of Our History, Either Immediate or Long-Gone” seems less about external events and more about my personal history, at least as I read it today.
We received news on Thursday night of the death of a family member under tragic circumstances. As each of us wrestles with this news in our own way, I struggle with two things: what do I say to my sister-in-law, whose mother is lost; and why does this news hit me, personally, so hard? I have never met the woman and yet I mourn her.
I mourn for her family and for the aftermath of her death. Again, I am reminded that our family history affects each of us, daily, in subtle yet profound ways we may not even be aware of in our waking lives.
I don’t talk much publicly about being an Anorexia survivor. But in the wake of this week’s stressful events, I was reminded of my own fragility. I like to think it’s the angel of my sister-in-law’s mother, brushing my shoulder and reminding me of all the abundance for which I have to be grateful. We have so much, particularly if we are reading this on the internet.
Our history influences us – trauma and healing – and we can choose to focus on the one or the other. They are parallel realities. If you are in trauma today, I urge you to seek help. Ask a counselor, call a friend, speak to a minister. Don’t suffer in silence. Life is so ephemeral, and we are, after all, all in this together. If history teaches us anything, it is that silence is poison. It is only by embracing our past and understanding it can we move past it. Those who ignore history, after all, are doomed to repeat it.
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