Years ago I began to write my family history. My goal is to chronicle the generations for my children. I envision leaving them a book filled with the stories of lifetimes, bits of wisdom, poetry, recipes and pictures that they can share with future generations.
My family history is filled with the tragedy of murder and the hidden secrets of organized crime – and like a super sleuth I wanted to uncover all I could. I searched old newspapers and court records and interviewed living relatives. The fact that so much of the past was still guarded only intensified my curiosity. There were secrets that still wanted to be kept and pain that would always be too fresh for the living to share.
After gathering all I could on generations past, it came time to chronicle generations present. Time to chronicle the chapters of my own life and marriage.
I wanted to present a love story to my children. A “fairy tale” of a love that was strong enough to persevere through years of stormy weather.
Stormy weather. Those two words weren’t big enough to hide the truth.
I struggled to write my own story and began to see that the story I desperately wanted to tell didn’t exist. Our life had deteriorated in recent years as he fell deeper into alcoholism and I enabled him by holding back the dam that threatened the life I had so carefully constructed. While I was so eager to know the truths that were buried with the dead, I struggled to face my own truth. I was keeping my own secrets.
And then I realized – Only the living can change their story.
My marriage has sadly ended and I am telling a new story, bit by bit. And someday I will finish the book for my children. And it will be rich with the stories of lives past and present, and the price they paid to teach their lessons to the future.