Friday, January 26, 2018

Insight: Understanding life backward by Lorraine Glowczak

As I write this, it’s early Wednesday morning on January 24 and today marks the anniversary of my mother’s passing six years ago. 
I think of her often and I especially think of her today. 

As most people who are left behind to move on, I often reflect upon the ways I could have done things differently as a daughter – even though my mother thought I was perfect.

Looking back, there is one thing I am happy I did. One year, as a Christmas gift to my four brothers and their families, I wrote a brief story of my mother’s life. This was not only a gift to my siblings but also a way to make concrete the stories she always shared verbally. Although it wasn’t my initial intention, this little family book pleased her. And in doing so, it honored her.

It’s been 30 years since I wrote that small family keepsake which is now buried deep in storage. I’m sure I learned a few things about life in general as it was written, but now that I’m older, her stories come back to visit me from time to time. When they do, it stirs memories of long ago that help me appreciate and understand more of my life today. 

Author and legacy consultant Rachel Freed stated in her article, “The Importance of Telling Our Stories” that stories connect the past and present to the future. “Our stories and our learning from them honors and respects our ancestors and us. They can awaken future generations to their potential.”

Like my mother’s story did for me and my brothers, it is my hope that the story Elizabeth “Liz” Wisecup shared with our readers (see front page, “Untold story of a local nurse”), may shed some light on your own journey in life, now and in the future. Perhaps in the sharing of how she witnessed the nursing profession change during her career, her story can remind us to pay attention to each moment – not only does time travel quickly but it is ever changing. What is today is not necessarily going to be tomorrow. 

Most of us know the words of Soren Kierkegaard when he stated, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” It’s possible that by looking back on others’ lives, their stories may show us a way of moving forward with more awareness, adventure, fearlessness and pizazz as we go about our daily living.

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