Yesterday afternoon I took a quick peek in the book section of Tar-jay (that’s fancy French for Target) and found a book I had to take home. Two Kisses for Maddy…a memoir of love and loss, looked too good to pass up.
It’s the story of a man who loses the love of his life, his beautiful wife Elizabeth, just 27 hours after she gave birth to their only child.
The author, Matthew Logelin, tells us that before his wife died of a blood clot, he had dreamed of writing a meaningful love song, but he couldn’t because in his opinion, “…great art can only come from a place of immense pain, and that the resulting work is beautiful because it is motivated by the purest and most authentic of emotions: sadness.” He goes on to say that the loss of his beloved wife gave him the ability to come a writer, but he really wishes he wasn’t.
I am one hundred pages deep into his story and it is as beautifully sad and heart wrenching as I expected. Matthew’s love for his wife and daughter make me cry. The pictures he includes at the back of the book, ones with him and his wife in India and then pictures taken a few years later of him with his daughter in those same places in India, including the spot where got engaged, seal the deal on this love story. I can’t put it down.
Mathew Logelin’s book also got me thinking. After a certain age, almost all of us have experienced heartbreak or deep emotional upheaval in one way or another. Does that mean we all have the capacity to write? Do we all have a story to tell?
From the beginning of time, mankind has shared stories to teach and connect with one another. Prehistoric humans used pigment made from dirt to draw pictures in caves. Over time, different techniques for telling similar stories led to distinct cultures, from the ancient Greeks to the Native Americans. Stories allow us to interpret the past and influence the future.
I wrote my own memoir, Could Have Been Holly Wood, to understand how I could have lived for twenty years without realizing so much of the craziness in my life was due to an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. How could I have missed that? As I wrote, I found my answers. I also realized I had some great stories to share, and some lessons to pass along.
I strongly suspect we all have a memoir inside of us.
What is your story? What lessons would you like to pass on to the next generation?