When I first heard about Huffington Post's "Talk To Me" series, I was inspired. A portal in which children interview their parents? Sign me up.
As an author and journalist, I spent a great portion of the last decade away from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois, researching and writing about my Polish family -- and the plight of nearly 1 million Poles who braved Joseph Stalin's mass deportations in the 1940s ... an odyssey that still remains curiously under-reported.
One of the main things I learned from my countless interviews with my uncles, aunt and my mother, Bernice Migut Gorder, was how strong the human spirit actually is.
Last year, "Grace Revealed," the memoir I wrote about my family's experiences, was published. But I wondered: Was there something more to learn from my mother--about life, about change, about ... grace?
To be sure, there is always something more to learn from our parents, however, in this #TalkToMe interview, my mother, a former Polish refugee who survived the Gulags and wound up living in a Polish orphanage in Eastern Africa along with tens of thousands of other Poles, reminds me that the will to live -- and to thrive -- has the ability to rise like a Phoenix during the most dire of circumstances and beyond.
Our family's histories live on through us. We can all learn from the past. These lessons have the ability to fuel -- and to heal -- our futures.