There are facts that I can know about someone. Facts that I can know and verify in a court of law. Beyond the shadow of a doubt. For instance, a series of facts:
Born 1930 in Georgia.
5 foot 2 inches.
Black curly hair.
Graduated High School in 1948.
Graduated College 1962.
Worked for Southern Bell 38 years.
Took off time to give birth to two children.
Just the facts. It’s the truth, but it's just the facts. The life of my mama in a nutshell. Yet where in these facts is the truth about my mother? Where is the truth about her sweet spirit, her giving nature? Where in these facts do you find truth about her relationship with her parents, her sister, her children and her spouse? Even if I expanded this list to contain hundreds of thousands of facts, would that truth be found there? It would come perhaps in the interpretation.
She sat in a rocking chair for 6 hours straight when I had my tonsils out, rocking and singing to me. Holding me and comforting me. We can interpret that fact – my mother loved me. But that is not stated in the fact – it might be implicit, but it isn’t stated. The feel of her skin against my fevered face, the soothing nature of her soft alto – the way she made me feel loved and safe and secure. Where is that in the facts?
My mother died in 2001. She’s gone, no longer in my life and yet I hear her voice when I talk to my daughters. I hear her voice joining mine when I sing to them. I feel her hand on my shoulders as I rock my own child tonight, her little fevered face pressed against mine. Truth is her spirit lives on.