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As I write this editorial, we're planning a memorial service for my mother-in-law, a kind and gracious woman who passed from this life at home with her daughter at her side. Although her body failed her and she endured the full gamut of the healthcare system, her mind remained sharp and her spirit strong for all of her 85 years. She always served as a wonderful role model to me. But as we gently sorted through the treasures she left behind, I gained even more valuable insights about living. Perhaps they'll resonate with you in your personal and professional life.
With a bachelor's degree in history, Mom Jones was the consummate historian. She kept detailed notes about the family genealogy dating back to the 1600s. Pictures were carefully annotated with names, dates, and significant events. A box held news clippings, family trees, and an ancient family bible, along with fascinating anecdotes neatly preserved for future generations. She researched facts, even visiting cemeteries to confirm dates of birth and death. Her work immortalized many individuals whose lives might have been otherwise forgotten amid the frenzied pace of today's world.
Her efforts revealed to me the value of savoring the past as a legacy for the future. Going through the box brought the family together in a way that allowed us to celebrate our family heritage. In fact, those moments helped to heal grief and strengthen family ties. Her work reminded me of the need to spend quality time talking to loved ones about their life experiences and really listening to their stories. Recorded, they're a gift to future generations.
Another insight involves discovering the uniqueness of each individual while we still can. We might think we know a person, but there's probably more that just might surface with the right conversation. Finding a picture of my conservative father in a grass skirt doing a native dance while he was stationed in New Guinea during World War II comes to mind. So does finding evidence of Mom Jones' early artistic talent for drawing and painting. Unfortunately, I never learned of these experiences and talents during their lives. What conversations we could've had!!
Though it's often tough given life's demands, we'd benefit from periodically tuning out our present world with all of its distractions, at least for a short time, and reaching into the past. It's a means of better appreciating today and grounding us for the future. Rest in peace, Mom.
Until next time-
Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM
Editor-in-Chief, Nursing2010 Vice President, Emergency, Trauma, and Aeromedical Services Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.
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