By Monica Vest Wheeler
Still easing back into the "real world," yesterday I interviewed a nurse who had cared for premature babies for years. It's one of many conversations for a local history project I'm working on.
As she shared a particularly poignant story, I felt the all-too-familiar shuddering inside … and my tears erupted like a faucet. She didn't miss a beat as she continued her story, and the video camera kept rolling as I still jotted notes.
Only for one micro-second did I think, "How unprofessional of me to cry!" No, I had invested MYSELF in this interview, and this is simply who I am.
My tears fell several more times during our conversation because her stories shook my very core about the fragility and meaning of life. After turning off the video camera, I apologized out of habit about my tears, though added I had lost my mom just two months ago.
And we had this amazing discussion … all because we had allowed ourselves to be real … and even vulnerable.
I spoke for an hour to an Alzheimer's support group last week … no notes, no Powerpoint, no specific topic … other than how to survive. The words flowed as my heart wrote them … along with some tears as I shared the fears and hope of this uniquely human journey …
I may cry when I story-listen … and when I story-tell. Because it means I'm here … where I'm supposed to be … spreading the word, sharing the heartache, discovering the joy …