Sun Kissed Days

Sun Kissed Days

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Legacy

" If you look deeply in the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people. " -Thich Nhat Hanh
This weekend we were at a baby shower celebrating with family. I am going to be an aunt again come May. As I spent a few hours with relatives we were reminiscing of the past when life was simpler. When you could just knock on someone's door and visit them. You didn't have to call or make special arrangements. You could just stop by and have a cup of coffee and sit and talk about whatever is going on in your life. Every Saturday my grandparents would come over and my mom would bake a cake and make coffee and the adults would talk about life and about the issues of the time. They would talk and the children would listen and take it all in. There was family time with extended family all the time. It was not reserved for weddings or funerals, it was a part of life. I miss those days. The house would be filled with voices and filled with laughter, and sometimes the conversations would escalate but it was like watching a bull fight. You don't want to see the horror yet you can't look away. You are absorbed in every exchange and in every expression and even though you are a child you are better for witnessing it. For being a part of it. It becomes a part of you that you can't deny. The stories about the war and how my grandfather saved our family and his in laws and another family of friends becomes a part of who we are and what we become. The stories about people persecuting your family and discriminating against your family in their own birth country makes you want to fight for others. You can't help but care for others because others have cared for yours. During World war II my family was in the ghetto, a lady from Ukraine risked her life to help them . She would hand over a jar of soup across the barbed wire to my grandfather. He took the soup and with one spoon he hand fed everyone from the jar. They were all sick and weak except for him. As he fed fifteen people the only sounds were sighs , the sounds of gratitude to have a spoon of soup. It was medicine to them. I think of my grandfather and there are many stories I have yet to tell. He was a hero because he kept all those people alive and whatever little that he had or that he could smuggle into the camp he shared with them. He carried them on his wings. Even though he was hard sometimes I think life had made him that way. He had seen horrors and he survived abuse. His heart was always in the right place. His heart was big and his will to help was endless. As we sat and talked about the past , my thoughts were connecting the past and the present. Who we are and where we come from. In these happy times there is always a reminder of the past, of the struggle, of the many tears. The longer we spoke , we recognized the goodness over the evil. The gratitude in our life. The gratitude of having a history filled with sad and hard memories. It is a map of our family. It is the legacy that we give to our children.

10 comments:

  1. smiles. it is the legacy we give our children...and through the stories we tell we let those that have passed become part of today...very cool...

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  2. cool,
    a map of your family, so divine ..

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  3. Oh, this is such rich story telling. It truly is a wonderful legacy rooted in the resilient fabric of humanity.

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  4. Thank you, Belinda. Sometimes I think back at what they went through and it's unimaginable. I am in awe of their resilience.

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  5. "The gratitude in our life. The gratitude of having a history filled with sad and hard memories. It is a map of our family. It is the legacy that we give to our children. "

    So beautiful and so true ayala! I want to go visit my parents now! ;)

    I read Thich Nhat Hanh

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  6. Thank you, Kristi. Go see your parents :)

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  7. Your family's history/story is powerful and heart wrenching. I understand your point, though. My generation is very distant from the family members that came before us, but my mother's generation has deep, rich memories of a house teeming with voices and stories and memories both old and new. I wish we could've been part of that.

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  8. Kelly, I miss those days of sitting quietly and listening-taking it all in. I would think of the details of those stories over and over again. I was a child with an old soul. I felt like I carried all the pain on my shoulders.

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