Healing is a long and twisting process, and some days are harder than others.
In tough times, I think about the people we have lost. I think about family members and friends taken too soon. I think about how I miss the way their names sound rolling off my tongue. I think about amazing people; people like Sophie. Sophie passed away a couple years ago, but I think about how her legacy refuses to be silent. I think about how even in death, legacy lives.
I didn’t know Sophie too well. I only met her once in fact. But she left an impression on me. One I won’t soon forget, and one I seek to actively remember and honor.
Today, Sophie’s legacy is alive in her family and her friends, in her poetry and her blog, and in the stories we share about her.
Storytelling is perhaps the oldest of all human traditions. Our ancestors, from every region, culture, and religion of the world expressed themselves through the exchange of ideas, emotions, memories, and experiences. Storytelling is intrinsic to both our individual and collective identities. Quite simply, stories define us as human.
In times of tragedy, writers often return to the solace of pen and paper. Writing, they say, is the practice of immortality. And when we read or write about those we have lost, we seek to honor them, to bring them back, and to welcome them into our presence. Further, when we choose to speak those words aloud, when we (re)member and embody them, we connect with the memory, the essence, and the being, of those we miss and love.
Hard days come and go. But stories help us remember and help us heal. Stories remind us of the beautiful complexity of life and death. On hard days, it’s organizations like Be Loud! and people like Sophie that help me make it through.
If you haven’t already, you should read Sophie’s blog. Welcome her words into your day and keep telling the stories.
Stories make us human. Stories help us live, and remember, and live again.