The earliest memory I can remember is more of a memory of a memory. I was young, maybe five, and I while I don't remember my surroundings, I do remember what I was thinking. I was trying focus on a scene in my head; a late evening at home and the living room was dark. The only lighted area was the kitchen. I think my parents were in the kitchen and I was going to them. It also seems like I was talking or humming to myself, but I couldn't (still can't) remember sound. I don't know how much farther back that "memory" was, but at the time, as I tried to piece it together in my mind, I concluded that was my earliest memory. Without any way to know for sure, that is the memory that call my earliest.
I was about fifteen or sixteen when my sisters and I began doing more volunteer work in a nursing home where my dad was a volunteer pastor. Although I had been going there most of my life, I was still very shy and it was hard trying to get to know the residents. But the hardest thing was the feeling of hopelessness I would sometimes struggle with. Many people had given up. It was a strong reminder of our mortality. But I remember something else. My mom, sisters, and two of my cousins were running the “hydration cart,” which was a cart loaded with drinks; juice, milk, water, etc. We were going from room to room. My cousins were about six and nine, and although it was their first time, they were fairly comfortable around the residents. At one point though, one of them, (the nine yeah old, Sheinah) was delivering a glass orange juice to a woman who was very weak. I walked with my cousin into the room. It was dark, and the blinds were drawn. The woman’s name was Margret, and she could hardly see, hear or lift her hands. My cousin Sheinah held the glass for her as I helped her find the straw. She didn’t know who held the glass for her, who we were, but she said thank you, and “I love you dear.” I didn’t know how to respond, so I just said, “Thank you, I love you too,” and she repeated it, “I love you dear,” so I responded, “I love you too.” I don't know what impact that had on my cousin. I know it had an impact on me. It was cool to see my cousin helping like that. It was cool to see how much it meant to Margret. There were other times I saw her, but I don’t think she ever really remembered who I was, but she would always say, “l love you dear.” That always meant a lot to me.