To have joy one must share it. Happiness was born a twin.

~ Lord Byron ~

Remembering Things

September 14th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 43 secs

The past is worth keeping if you use it well.

The past is worth keeping if you use it well.

There are things I remember but I wish I didn’t. Things that come foremost to mind at the most inopportune times. Like a living entity in itself, your mind recalls what it will.

Then there are times when remembering brings is deeply satisfying, even a pure undiluted joy. Those episodes you have cherished your whole life long: captured in your recall and truly, only existent in you.

I like taking photos. Actually I love it. And it struck me that the relationship between photographs and memory is an unusual one. Open that old box and pick up a faded, dog-eared picture and in an instant, your mind turns this tatty image into a wealth of memories.

“Oh that’s just your old Uncle Bob, just before he had his gallstones out. I was only fifteen at the time and…” Everything sitting there, waiting in abeyance for the right signal suddenly rushes into consciousness. Your memories.

When my mother died I looked at the photographs she had kept. Some were familiar, though I didn’t know their stories. With her passing these pictures looked no different. But, they had become bereft of significance. Useless without the meanings her memory gave them.

Your ability to remember is central to your being.  Yet, it’s an ability we often laugh about, frown over, and when it works really well, impress.

Ruth’s mother has Alzheimer’s now and she says very funny things without meaning to. Yesterday at the Doctor’s she declared, “I’ve come to see you because the other day I looked up suddenly and my eye fell out.” We laugh about it. Because there’s no point in crying.

Memory is you. Yet, having worked with people who are profoundly disabled, with little awareness of their surroundings (let alone recollection), I am sure there is something else within. Our memories and awareness amplify it.

So go ahead and spend time remembering recalling fondly with family and friends. Give each experience new breath by reminding people about what you have shared. Recalling is good. Living in the past isn’t.

Hand over your stories and keep them the best one alive. Be thankful for what you remember, and if some recollections hurt, know that’s also part of being a sentient human being. You have this miraculous ability, so use it, treasure it, and treat it with respect.

Your memories put everything into perspective.

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