"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weaving fragments, place, and time.

the actual love letters my grandpa sent to my grandma when he was in the Navy.

I light a match
the flame and sulfur
hitting my still darkened senses at the same time.

My candle dances before me now
that smells faintly of the
woods that surrounded their house and my youth.

October has spread her cool fingers across the hardwood floor
and I pull his cardigan, given to me after his funeral when I was a mere 9 years old,
tighter around me as I sit down at my desk that I found at the side of the road.

I have the old trunk propped open beside me
pictures ripe with stories frozen in frame,
his love letters spread out around me            

touching her letter
dated early last week
in her aging hand.

it begins,
"I may have already told you this story already..."

and I whisper in my still sleeping house,
800 miles from where the letter was penned

"Tell me again, Nana.  Tell your life to me again."

You see, I am compiling the fragments of her memories,
the stills-and-frames that are heavy with the burden of the lives they hold inside,
the bits of history I research and can find

and I am weaving a place for these lives to reside.

Listening deep for the truths my grandmother has to offer
picking up my pen to make a composite sketch
of the life they built one dream at a time.

I am writing my grandparent's story.

As I wrestle with the weight of trying to capture
the sun that may set before I'm ready-
closing around with it the light I need to see clearly the one I've already lay sleeping in the ground...

I continue because for every story lost,
I have been able to save one.
I have been able to give to my grandmother the platform to remember that her life has mattered.

That someone is still listening and learning
from the road she took out of the Smoky Mountains to the edge of the Boundary Waters,
and is holding close the heartache of having lost the love that had given her the strength.

I sit quiet in this sanctuary of the past,
knowing that these stories make up mine.
That these threads make up the loom of our family history.

The sole candle both a eulogy lit and an invitation to come,

and I wait for another
line to whisper
it's tale in my ear.

As my fingers find pen and key,
I feel my grandparents hands
wrapped tight around mine.

{linking with Emily, ippp } 


  1. love this. so much. this is so very beautiful. xo

  2. Oh, Tara - beautiful - it is a vintaging of your inheritance - not a property or money thing - but a soul thing! What a sweet journey you are entering - hope you will share it with us!

  3. This is gorgeous. And what a tribute to your grandmother. I love that you want to show her life mattered, and I especially love this: these threads make up the loom of our family history.

  4. How wonderful and great and beautiful. I love that you're writing down their story and I can't wait to read it.

  5. Oh, how wonderful. We have some old letters of my husband's grandparents and I love reading them so much. I hope it's fun for my kids to look back at mine and my husband's letters one day.

  6. So beautiful! And how amazing that you have those letters!

  7. Tara, this is achingly beautiful. I love that you're doing this.

  8. What an amazing project for you to do, and you'll do it justice. I bet it's been quite the journey so far!

  9. Heidi described it perfectly above, achingly beautiful. Wow, I love it

  10. oh, how incredible... what an honor that you get to write their story. i had thought about writing my grandparents' story one day too... (they also wrote letters to each other :)) such a lost art, isn't it?) love you girl.

  11. Your passion for generations - for understanding where we come from, who we are, who went before us, who goes behind us - it's catching. And while I (of course) thought of my own grandparents as I read this, I *felt* my Josiah - the one who came after me and went on before me. Always a sweet gift to remember my boy in the context of the "threads make up the loom of our family history" (as you put it) and for that I thank you, friend. Xx

  12. What a fantastic project! I think that this will be an amazing gift to write down their story.