At its core, WTR is an invitation to share your story because when we acknowledge Who it is that has written our stories, there is no chapter we have to keep secret or one that He won’t use for His glory and our blessing.
Meri Kate Boynton
Founder of Writing to Remember
It was October 3rd, 2012. The day I forgot who my mom was. I forgot because on that day she went from being ‘my mom’ to ‘my mom who committed suicide’. I forgot because in an instant, every memory I had of her life was viewed through the lens of pain that I felt from her death. And I forgot because it produced a fog I couldn’t see past. A fog so thick that from where I stood, her death was her life, and her life was her death. So in an effort to help me reconnect with my mom and remember who she was, I was asked to consider writing her a letter. That ask was initially met with a hard ‘no’ because writing a letter to someone who will never read it felt pretty pointless, and maybe even a little strange if I’m being honest.
But after two years and countless requests, something gave way and I sat down to write the words ‘dear mom’. And when I did, when I chose to write to her instead of swimming in my thoughts about her, I began remembering who it was that I was writing to. I began remembering my mom because what I learned is that it’s tough to write someone you don’t know. I’d go so far as to say it’s impossible to write someone without knowing at least one true thing about them. Maybe it’s something small, but if you can grab on to one truth, you can write them a letter. And that’s what I did. I grabbed on to the basic things I knew to be true about my mom. Things like, she ran every morning at 5AM, made the best seafood pasta and lived the “just swing by anytime” way of life. I had no rules when I wrote, but a silent promise to write whatever I felt and whatever I could remember.
The words, just like the process, weren’t always pretty, but I kept writing and each truth that was written acted as a brick in rebuilding the memory of my mom. Soon, I realized that through writing I not only uncovered truths about her, but uncovered truths about myself because I had not only forgotten my mom, but I had forgotten that my life was never meant to be defined by her death. Where I once couldn’t distinguish her life from her death, I also couldn’t distinguish my story from this one chapter.
And I believe we all have a chapter that feels a lot like that. Maybe it’s the chapter we wish we could rip out of our stories altogether, or maybe it’s the one we keep flipping back to in an attempt to base our entire story around it. Either way, it skews the truth. We’re each living a story, not a chapter. And I believe it’s a story worth sharing. When we can acknowledge Who it is that has written our stories, there is no chapter we have to keep secret or one that He won’t use for His glory and our blessing. I keep writing to remember that, and I hope you do too.