Recording memories for future generations

My wish for 3 Cleveland women

A decade of misery is a monumental journey to move beyond. I agree that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight of Cleveland need time and privacy to heal.

I love the statement that Jaycee Lee Dugard released to People magazine: “These individuals need the opportunity to heal and connect back into the world. This isn’t who they are. It is only what happened to them. The human spirit is incredibly resilient. More then ever this reaffirms we should never give up hope.” While her statement addresses kidnap victims, we could apply this rule to anyone who has gone through life-changing trauma.

I’m sure publishers and writers are lining up to broker the book deal, outlining each horrid detail of three kidnapped women, who orchestrated their own rescue after 10 years in captivity.

My personal historian self takes over at moments like this and I immediately start thinking about their legacy. Tomorrow they won’t want people to look at them and visualize a caged animal. If I could spend one afternoon talking to each of these women I would leave for Cleveland in an hour.

They don’t want to rehash yesterday when they can walk barefoot in the grass under a beautiful spring sky today. Skip it. Enjoy this moment and make it a memory. A good one.

Instead, I’d love to sit with them and make wish lists. Here’s what they would look like:

  • What do I want to do today (only today)
  • What do I want to do tomorrow (only tomorrow).
  • These are the things I like.
  • These are the things I used to like.
  • Here is a list of places I’d like to go, food I’d like to try, and moments I want to remember.
  • I want time to do this: (now name what this is. When you’re ready, try it).
  • New again: a random list of things I love rediscovering
  • A general list of likes
  • Things I probably should avoid
  • My wish for me (for all the tomorrows I get to enjoy).

I’d suggest they take their good sweet time filling out the lists. Each new discovery is like watching a flower blossom.

Their life story should not be defined by what happened to them but by their inner strength and resilience, the stories they tell down the road, detailing how they grew while America was quietly cheering them on.

Again, this is a good rule for anyone who has experience life-changing trauma.

My wish for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight is that someday they refer to that decade as the lost years. May they live a very inspired and active life filled with more joys than sorrows, more open doors than closed ones. I wish the world for them.

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