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Weaving our Stories

Weaving Our Story

January 29, 2014

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A friend of our family recently shared that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Those are words that we always hate hearing, that bring up many memories, fears and prayers. As I sat listening to her husband describe what it was like to share the news to their community of friends and loved ones, he spoke of the many women who approached them to share their own stories. Some told of survival, some of loss, some of just finding out that they too would be walking the same journey, with the same diagnosis. I can only imagine the importance of those stories being shared. The immediate sense of community and care that must have materialized.

As I drove home, and in the weeks since, I have thought about those stories. Perhaps for the first time I realized that the stories that we choose to weave together, and to share, are really the fabric of our relationships, no matter how long we may be in someone’s life, no matter how brief a moment we may share. It is our experiences that bind us and keeps us close, that reminds us that we are not alone, we do not need to be alone, and we are all closer in situation than we may think.

We are all interesting and experienced. We all have a wealth of knowledge that needs to come out, to teach, to mentor, to guide and to illuminate. It is hard to see ourselves as being that valuable, but it is essential that we do. I have been thinking of the stories recently that have touched me, forever changed me, and shaped who I am in this moment. I think of them as a tapestry that blankets me. A weaving board with every story a different fabric, color, and print. Those are remarkable stories, shared by remarkable people, and there are a lot of them. Some of the stories came from people I only met once, and by chance. Some are by the women who came before me, some are by those I have never laid eyes on. Some are in books, some on the phone, some through tears, some through joy. They are mine, they tell my story, and they are sacred.

I also think of the pieces of me that are spread across another’s woven life, how a story I once shared could have possibly shaped another in a small way. I think of what colors those stories might represent, what meaning they may hold. That is the beauty of the human race, and the magic of love. We impact each other, and we leave a mark.

Now it is time for me to encourage my children to begin to tell their stories. To share their loves, their fears, their hopes. I see Jacob telling another about his celiac disease, easing the fears of someone just beginning their journey. I see Elwood share his fear of heights, bonding with another boy at the bottom of a rope swing. I see their openness, and I pray that it holds. I want them to be storytellers and poets, letting their emotions be their guides. I want them to know that even if one person comes along and is changed by their words, that will be enough. I want them to know that their greatest gifts can come from what they are willing to give of themselves, and how they can help another by simply sharing their own experiences. I want them to remember that their story is a beautiful one.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

lily boot January 29, 2014 at 6:08 am

Oh Heather, this is a beautiful piece. One that I hope I will always think of. I do hope your friend receives all the care and tenderness she needs. Your idea that all the stories we share are woven around us and shape us is so beautiful. I find that in my nursing placements (just a few months now before I am registered) my days are filled with the stories shared by patients and their families – their beauty and power, sadness and fragility constantly amaze me. I too think that people are extraordinary – I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t had a story to tell that has kept me on the edge of my seat. And the more I hear, the more I realise that love and openness are essential to our daily lives. Thank you so much for sharing your story tonight – it has added to me.

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Heather January 29, 2014 at 10:56 am

Lily, first congrats on almost being a registered nurse! I have always been amazed by nurses, all that they hear, see, and do. The stories that must be around you always, so very powerful. You get to witness some of the most touching, and intense in a person’s life. Magic indeed.

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a little crafty nest January 29, 2014 at 9:54 am

Dear Heather,

Absolutely everything about this post is beautiful. The photos are gorgeous, the words are lovely, and the sentiment is powerful. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly…and such a valuable quality to draw out of our children. On our journey with our daughter’s diagnosis, I am really out in the Type 1 Diabetic community trying to help others, connecting people to find resources, inspiration, and strength. I feel it is the only way for me to move forward and keep the feelings of helplessness and futility at bay. It is a human condition to feel needed and helpful, to express our inner thoughts and dreams, and I think giving our children these tools will bring great peace to their hearts. Please, keep sharing here…I’ve missed your presence.

xo Jules

xo Jules

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Heather January 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

Oh my yes Jules, you certainly do know the power of sharing your story. I think that especially when we have a loved one (and a child at that) who has something like Type 1 Diabetes, that community is essential. When Jacob was first diagnosed with celiac, it was those stories that saved me from feeling so overwhelmed, and to know what steps to take to begin the process of helping him. As the years have gone on, it is now us who shares the stories in the hopes of helping others. I am glad that there is a community where you feel supported, and where you are able to give back your knowledge.

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Susan January 29, 2014 at 11:36 am

Lovely and definitely something to ponder over. Thank you.

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Tonya January 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Such beautiful photos Heather and beautiful words. Your sweet little daughter looks so much like you. I am still awed at the blessing that she must be.
Thinking of you,
Tonya

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Anna January 30, 2014 at 6:27 am

The tapestries we weave must be so beautiful, especially when what we hope to share is given with as much grace and beauty and concern as what you share here.

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