Quite some time ago I read a little saying on a calendar. I don't remember if it was a quote or what, but what it said has been with me for a long time. What did it say? It simply stated, "when an elderly person passes away, it is as though a library has burned to the ground." Oh how true it is!
I keep journals of my life. Not because anything exciting happens but rather so some trace of my experiences and memories can be left behind. I find myself wishing that my grandparents had done this. I've lost both of my grandmothers and one grandfather in the past few years. After their passing I really do feel as though I am sifting through ashes of some great library looking for pieces of their story.
In March of this past year I Said a final goodnight to my one of my grandmothers. She had been in a nursing home for a couple of years and when she got bad they called us all in. We sat by her bedside for days, waiting. Waiting for peace to come over her, waiting for that final breath. Sitting there watching her gave me more time to think on morbid things than I wish to confess. However, one observation I made was her surroundings. For most of the time it was my mom, myself, and my grandfather. She laid there, gaunt and tired, and all that summed up her life was either sitting around her or pinned up on a cork board above her head. Pictures of her family were on that board. All of her dreams, wishes, lessons learned and memories were either passed on through story or left buried in her heart.
My heart broke at not only the thought of losing her to death, but also the lifetime of emotions and sensations that would be lost. I knew my grandmother, as my grandmother. I wanted more than ever to know what she was like when she was young, or when she had small kids at home or to ask her for any advice or words of wisdom that came from years of experience.
Finally she passed on and left the frail body of this earth to rest. The library of Patricia Ann Hoffman burned to the ground. As many others have before. And so, I sift through the ashes of her library, searching for pieces of her life.
Our lives are like libraries. We gather knowledge and (hopefully) wisdom. Share it. Above all go visit your grandparents or your other loved ones and learn their story, then write it down.
More than all of this we are left with the Bible. A library. The story of Gods love for man. Share it. Don't leave people left to dig through the ashes for answers. Share what you have learned, and learn from what others have shared. I'm glad God wrote it all down, so we didn't have to sift through the ashes, aren't you?