I’m currently reading a book called The Memory Book. It’s about a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. To help her and her family her therapist suggested writing a book of memories. This got me to thinking. If you had a limit of the number of memories which would you keep? Which ones would you hasten to write about?
Memories of others
The first thing I think that comes to most people’s minds are the people who aren’t with us anymore. There is a desperate fear of forgetting people. When someone has been gone a long time there can be a fog that comes whenever you try to reach for their image in your mind. And a photograph cannot be enough. This doesn’t give you the rest of them. The warmth they gave. The softness of their cheek when they hugged you. Or the look they’d share with you when your Mum was talking rubbish again about the neighbours.
There are the memories others have given us to. The moment they stood opposite you at the end of an altar. The first time you met them and found out they were a girl. Or the time you lay in bed hoping you’d never forget just how beautiful their back is as they stood to get dressed, as you may never see one more beautiful again. Other people give us so many moments to treasure.
Memories of ourselves
But there are also the memories we want to keep of ourselves. All the times we’ve been strong or overcome something. The times we’ve made ourselves proud. Maybe things no one else will know to remember because they’re only inside of us.
No one else will remember the beautiful beach I’d walk along in my mind in times of trouble. To the outside world we were in an office where for the hundredth time a team member was asking me to show them how to do something. At first I’d be pissed off because I knew they were just wasting my time and taking me away from others who actually needed help. To everyone else I was calm and just talked them through the issue again. But on the inside I was walking across the sand, breathing the salty air with the wind in my hair.
This beach doesn’t exist, and yet I have been there many times over the years. I hope someone else can learn to remember it so they can enjoy it too.
Memories of feeling
The majority of memories though will be the ones where we really felt something. Where we felt alive. Memories of crying when you got engaged because you were just so happy, even though it was just outside the kebab shop at 2 in the morning.
The way you felt when they touched you for the first time, and how that first touch turned into a whole night of laughing and feeling like you wanted to stay there forever.
All the times we’ve felt warm from the inside out. The times we’ve felt loved, and when we’ve loved someone back. These are the things only we can remember, because only we can remember the feeling that came with it.
Take a piece of paper and a pen and write a list of the things you’d want to remember. Then get in contact with the people who feature there. Reach out and laugh again about the time you threw up on them. Cry together about how much you miss the person no longer here. Connect and make things happen that you’ll want to remember today.