Keeper of the Memories

Even 3-1/2 years out, I’m discovering things about grief and loss and how my life has changed.

A was the Keeper of the Memories.  I believe every family has one; the lucky families have more than one.  His memory was almost too good, as he sometimes remembered details so vividly, he would relive the moments each time he recollected them.  Sometimes, that was a blessing, but often, it was a curse.  Each injustice affected him exactly the same when he recalled it as it did when it occurred.

But his ability to remember everything meant I didn’t always have to.  He was there for me to turn to and ask “what year did we buy that car?” or “do you remember the name of that restaurant?” or “who was it that gave us that platter we use at Christmas?”  His attention to detail was almost annoying at times, mainly because he would become frustrated that mine was not as sharp.

I’m finding myself struggling these days to remember certain things.  Not in the “she’s going senile” kind of way (although my kids might argue that one), but more in the “man, I wish I could remember who that person was, or where we went, or what s/he said” kind of way. And I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion thinking “oh, I need to ask A about that” a split second before I realize I’ve got to rely on my own memory for whatever it is I’m trying to recall.

Yes, my kids have input on certain things, my mother has retained a lot of information through the years, and I’ve got other friends and families I can rely on for certain things, but there are a lot of fuzzy, hazy images rattling around my brain from events only shared with A.  It makes me a bit melancholy to think I may never fully regain some of these memories because I never felt I would need to.  A sobering thought.

Although there isn’t much I can do about the memories already lost or diminished, realizing this has renewed my resolve to retain as many of the new ones I am creating as possible.  Part of that resolution has been to take a ton of pictures.  I mean a ton. At the moment, my phone currently holds 13,737 photos and 512 videos (thank goodness the storage on cell phones are so much bigger than they used to be!).

There are literally thousands of pictures of friends, family, and of course S, but also those of places and things (and more than a few photos of food, which sounds like a silly thing, but looking back and seeing a series of photographs from a location, coupled with images of what we ate, seems to spark a memory better than mere recall can).

I learned this truth after A passed, when the kids and I went through boxes of old pictures, as well as the ones on our phone, which resulted in tears and laughter, as we reminisced over each one.  It struck me as a message that needed sharing, and I ended his Celebration of Life tribute with this reminder which bears repeating.  So I leave you with this thought:

“And take pictures – take lots of pictures. Even the ones you think came out horribly. Because looking back through old photographs, some of the best ones are the candid shots with someone being silly, or looking really, really bad. You’ll look at each one and remember the story behind it. And it will bring you such comfort. But most importantly – please… live each day to its fullest, because you are never promised a tomorrow…”

Much Love,

Cheri G

© Many Faces of Cheri G 2019

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