The sanctuary in our memoirs class

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Synonymous with our Memoir Group is “Sanctuary” because our memoir group is a safe place, where we openly share ourselves, the good, the bad, and the funny, knowing full well we will be listened to with respect, without judgments.

The memoir group is truly a treasure; it is conducive for letting each person’s uniqueness flourish. We thoughtfully record the memoirs of the seasons in our lives to share in the group, often before sharing them with our families.

Our writing coach, Bonnie Mansell, has taught us that we have the power to leave a legacy through our memoirs. I know this to be true personally.

A dear friend of mine, Eve, told me that she had finally found her own voice by coming to the memoir group. She had suffered a lot of abuse in her childhood and most of her adult life.

She told me of her need to express and make sense of all that had happened to her. She finally achieved that when she began to write her story, to have her say within the walls of our group. Her statement reminded me of a quote by Soren Kierkegaard (Author of Fear and Trembling): “We live life forwards, but can only be understood backwards.”

Eve became one of the most prolific writers in our group, but more importantly she became a happier person, allowing her to experience the joy of welcoming her first grandchild. She began to write delightful accounts for her new grandbaby.

Sadly, Eve died just a few years later at the age of 59. I have taken this opportunity to write this on her behalf. I know that she would have wanted me to share her story and express her gratitude for the acceptance and peace she found in our Memoirs Sanctuary.

Yolanda Adele is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.

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