Your children, grandchildren and, possibly, others may someday ask “Who was Aunt Mary? What was she like? What was the Family like? What did they do, way back then ?” What are you going to tell them?
You know who you are and what has transpired in your life. Don’t
As I am writing my autobiography, I have come to realize that the “truth”, even in matters of personal knowledge and experience, may be questionable. How does one deal with that?
My father ran away from home at the age of 15 after fighting with his father. Any and all reference to his dad as I was growing up were negative. When my mother immigrated to Canada, after the Second World War she lived for a short time with my father’s mother. The situation was impossible, and my parents had to move out. I always heard negative things about my grandmother, even though my few childhood memories were positive. In studying the family genealogy, my brother has conducted extensive interviews that revealed a grandmother whose compassion and kindness to others involved considerable personal sacrifice on her part. As for the grandfather, people only say that he was a tough, retired soldier who served in the British Army in the Punjab region of what was then India, now Pakistan, during trying times.
Personal experience causes me to have memories, perspectives and opinions that may or may not be shared by my siblings or my children. Do I just say, “It is my story, so my statements are the only truths that are important.” ?
It may be that I will be the only person who writes about the recent generations. Do I have a responsibility to try to be fair in the recording? Do I mention that there are conflicting opinions? Do I consider the feelings of those who have warm loving memories, as opposed to negative ones that I may have? If I have knowledge of poor character or behavior that others do not have, do I bring it into the open and cause possible hurt?
Believe it or not, your story will be important to future generations. Share it! However, as you put your life in context, you will struggle with “the truth”. I doubt that there will ever be a perfect answer.
I know that my reawakened sensitivity for the feelings of those I love will impact on my interpretations and writing.. I will struggle.
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