The Power of Stories

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Submitted by Mike Stith, founder of

On this day, September 9, 2010, my mother passed away peacefully at SEM Haven Retirement Center in Cincinnati, OH. The story of her life and passing was a key inspiration in my life, and fueled my passion to create the One Legacy community. It all began with a few simple questions…

She and I sat together quietly for several days in the hospital prior to her admission to hospice. Not a lot needed to be said at that point, but I was compelled to learn more about her past. Questions like “What was your favorite song?” – “Judy Garland’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,'” she said with very little hesitation. “What was your favorite pet?” – Little Bit (a little fluffy Shiatsu), again with little hesitation. More importantly, as I asked these questions, I made sure I followed up with “Why?”.  I noticed her spirits improving with each question. Each answer included a different story about her life, and I learned things about her that I never knew before. I noticed her stories coming alive in her own mind while she was telling them. But most importantly, I was noticing how she was responding to beingMary Stithasked about her life. It was then I learned the true value of telling our stories. So many of us, young and old, long to be asked about our thoughts and experiences – but especially older folks who often live in isolation. Take a minute to ask a simple question, and be marveled by the energy and spirit that is generated. I miss my mom very much. Her legacy will always stay with me. That simple experience in the hospital taught me to never pass up an opportunity to ask a question and listen to a personal story. Whether it is a relative, a friend, or even a person in passing, the power of sharing a story provides a healing experience for each of us. Thank you for sharing with us at One Legacy.

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