“Add to Dictionary”

I’m starting to doubt my ability to hold heavy stories. I approached this project thinking it would be a chance for me to sit back and just listen to the story being told; to take a break from the need to throw in my own opinion. I’m seeing now that simply holding these stories is a difficult responsibility in itself. How do I sit for an hour as 2 grown men share stories of life in a concentration camp? How do I preserve the story of a brother’s strength to pull out of the hallway a family member who’d been tortured and left in grave danger of being shot, all while his own arm was broken, completely blue? Where do I hold my memory of seeing tears run down the face of a man telling of his mother’s rape? It is one thing to walk into the cozy kitchen of a welcoming mosque and tell its members you’re there to have a conversation of any life stories they’re willing to share. To get their actual raw accounts is quite another.

As I right-click to add Merdin’s name into Word’s dictionary, I can’t help but ponder what it means that I’ve now added his family’s story to a collection of thoughts that will forever stay with me.