Souvenirs for My Daughters


     Many years after the war, my siblings and I were fortunate to receive two pictures of our parents from relatives. By then, Id had forgotten what they looked like, especially my mother. Now, I have two duplicated pictures of them (my older brother keeps the originals), and this written story for my children.
     Little did I know that this reflection would take two years to breathe. At first, events were sketchy, exact dates and times were a blur. So, to chronicle the various events I decided to write it all down, leaving spaces in between. As I get older, I find my need to understand this chapter of my life is such that I need to look at it on paper, instead of just in my head. It is more concrete. More touchable. It is something I can lay to rest for my sanitys sake.
     I was asked by Jim Bodeen of Blue Begonia Press how I got this far with this writing, with no apparent help or experience as a writer. I had help. My husband read some parts of the first draft. And, his friend checked my grammar (Im terrible). At the beginning, I could not write. I could only make an outline. Sometimes, it felt so raw that I could only look from the sideline at the different events (afraid the nightmares would come back). It was difficult to gather the right words into sentences. I wrote down phrases. And, I prayed for guidance. Then, moments came, the emotions felt. The words and tears merged into touchable feelings.
     Its unsettling to have learned that a tribunal court was set up. It is hard for me to fathom a result of justice. In the abstract, measuring the weight of genocide is a hard concept. And, in the first person: How do you measure life, without your parents? How much is it worth? How much do my pains cost? And theirs? There is no justice in this world that would be enough for my siblings and me. There are no sure answers for me, at least.
     I do not want to see life being exchanged for life, or death for death. I just want people to know that war always tortures the little ones the most.
      My hope for this story is for it to be read. I want to thank Jim and Karen Bodeen of Blue Begonia Press for enabling part of this story to be made into an online chapbook. Jim, I thank you for your unconditional encouragement; and Karen, for sorting out my messy grammatical errors. Of course, I thank my husband, my daughters (for wanting to know about their grandparents) and Steve Carrey for saying they liked what I wrote. I am indebted to my husband for hearing my anger, feeling my pain, easing me to sleep, and making me wait for the moment. Someone most dear to me once said, I do not know if I believe in God, but I love Him. Along those lines, I do not know how to even guess if God is just. But, I do believe that He has helped me with this writing, with finding peace and healing. And, I thank Him for every part of my life.

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