I had a conversation with my neighbor today about losing our memory. She's older than I am and joked about not remembering things if she hasn't written them down. I'm the same way. She used to call it "mommyzheimers," while I say that the children ate my brain. What I began to realize as we talked was that I have always had a conveniently poor memory. I take pictures and write things down so that I can remember them. It's not dementia or Alzheimer's, it's just the way my brain works. I've learned to embrace this as a part of my life.
Some days it's a good thing. My grandmother used to say, "I'll forgive, but I'll never forget." I've found that forgetting is a great path to forgiveness. I sometimes wish that I could forget more things, but I probably need to (and benefit from) remember certain things for the lesson they've taught me. I believe my poor memory has protected me in the past, and knowing who I've managed to become, I think I'm happy about that for now. Intentionally vague, yes. Protective, yes. Healthy- well? I'm not sure.
Some days it's a bad thing. Recently, a woman very dear to me died unexpectedly. She helped raise me. I learned about faith, in part, because she endured/embraced me in my childhood. I know that I would not be who I am today if it weren't for her. Not remembering enough of her has me feeling guilty, sad, and lost in grief. My mom died 8 years ago. Forgetting her is heartbreaking. I try to keep her alive by sharing memories of her with my siblings and my children. I wish I could grasp some memories of my aunt, so that I could help keep her alive for her children and grandchildren.
If I could turn back time, I'd listen more. I'd write more (and burn fewer journals). I'd try to remember. Especially the important stuff.
My aunt took me to church with her. She took me to the NYS Fair a few times. One year she handed me a pen and paper to write down my number and hand to a boy (I was 15 or 16). I remember her calmness. I remember her playing organ in church. I remember her laugh. I remember her hug when my mom was dying. I remember hamburger gravy and fruit salad and flowers and baking. I remember that "God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for this food. By His hands we all are fed. Thank you, God, for daily bread. Amen." I remember that there are always ways that we can give more of ourselves.
Service. How can I serve more? This question has been tugging at me. I pray that God guides me to the answer, and that I'm not too stubborn or afraid to follow through. I also pray that I can draw upon more memories to share.