“You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory.” Fyodor Dostoevsky
Today opened up when Jon and I granted ourselves a little breathing room.
Jon needed time to sort through old memories and collect his thoughts; he’s the main speaker for his Alcoholics Anonymous group this evening. And I wanted time to sort and collect items for a simple birthday party-to-go; we’re making new memories tomorrow, as we gather family at my mother-in-law’s to celebrate her 75th.
Memories are life, are they not? So I wonder what happens to memories that are lost — these pieces of life — do they get lost in our minds like a set of lost keys? Or are memories like keys themselves, in that they unlock truth about our own lives? And what happens to memories that are never recovered — do we lose important pieces of ourselves?
I lost memories with Mom’s death. The memories Mom kept of me before I could form my own are dead with Mom. Gone too are half of the memories we made together. It is the latter that has proved the more noticeable loss, since I’m now left to carry around half-memories like a sock that’s lost its mate. Like any lost sock, the half-memory is no longer aired in public.
Personal stories are sacred. It doesn’t matter whether the story is told in an AA meeting or in a spiritual direction session or in a cozy chat with a friend or in writing memoir — or even a piece of fiction that reads like memoir. I lose myself in other people’s stories. And because truth is truth, I also find part of my own story within another’s.
Personal stories need to be told and they need to be heard. And with a little more breathing room, we could memory keep a whole lot better.