Our words are a gift

Photo collage from donttouchheart on Instagram done by Daily Record/Sunday News
Photo collage from donttouchheart on Instagram done by Daily Record/Sunday News

A few weeks ago, my friend who writes for our paper sent me an obituary he saw in the Hanover paper. I read obituaries every day looking for “news stories” and this one had a link in it. It was for a 28-year-old woman and had a link to her blog.

It starts out:

As many of my friends on facebook know, I was thinking about having a new outlet to let out some of my feelings through my journey with cancer. I was worried about a few details with this — one being I am a poor writer. I am not kidding when I say this — I am worst then a skier with a fear of snow. Each post will take me a very long time — so I ask you to please ignore the poor grammar and style that I have.
I hope this can provide something as insight to my friends and maybe guide others who are going through the same thing that I am. Either way I am going to give this my best shot.
— April 29, 2013

I knew from that moment that this was going to be a powerful story (turned out to be the best he’s written in my opinion) and one with am important message I try to reinforce with my family and you — the readers of this blog.

I’ve always been a writer. It just comes easy for me. And when we started this blog, everyone in the family said they’re not writers. It’s something Samantha Evans struggles with in her blog, too. She says:
“I write for two reasons. One is for myself — I think getting some of this out is healthy for me. My writing is poor but my emotions are real. And Two — for others that know me — so that they can keep up with me.”

I could go on and on about the story, and how Tim worked in Samantha’s own words and fears into the narrative. We ended up using her photos from her active social media accounts – Instagram and Twitter – to help tell her story.

As a family, we’ve talked about what we want to write, and not share. We’ve agreed on posts, and some of us have strayed from posts out of fear that they’re too negative. What I’ve always stuck by (but understand others’ reluctance) is that life is messy. Life has its ups and downs. We’re telling our story and it’s not always going to be pretty or happy.

Only days before her death, Samantha blogged:

This blog has provided me with a lot of joy and spiritual guidance through everyone who has read it, through everyone who has contacted me through it. It has meant more to me than you will ever know. I don’t know how much time I will have, or if I will post again, but I thank you for taking the time to read this, and share your love and prayers with me.
Thank you for following me on this journey.

What I love the most about Samantha’s journey, is that she found herself and a way to help others through something she never thought she could do. Sure, I’ve always been a writer, but I never would have thought we’d be running a blog about Parkinson’s.

Like they were for Samantha, her family and her readers, our words are also a gift. Our lives are full of joy, laughter, tears, pain and loss. We all know how our stories will end eventually. This blog and our words are what we leave behind. And I see it as our way to show you that you are not alone in your struggles or joy either.

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