How would you define a memory? Webster defines ‘memory’ as several things, but for me, these two fit the best:
1. an image or impression of one that is remembered
2. the time within which past events can be or are remembered.
When you lose someone, a memory is all you have. Did you love enough? Did you hug them enough? Call or text enough? I promise these questions will roll through your mind like a truck speeding through a red light.
To me, a memory is a cut-out handprint glued to a piece of construction paper with handwritten words saying “Happy Mother’s Day”. A dozen photos, a drawing of Laughing Jack done in ink, a receipt from Zumiez the last time we went to get him another beanie, my favorite picture of him and his nephew playing outside, a McDonald’s receipt, or a note saying “I love you Mom” on a card from church. At least those are some of the really good memories. There are not so good memories, too. Not so good memories are choosing a headstone, the funeral receipt, the sirens, and lights.
At this point in my life, my journey, my recovery, pictures mean a thousand words. I look at each one deeply. I look into his eyes, soaking in the life that was there. What was he thinking at that moment? Was he happy? Was he sad? I even look all the way back to the 5-year-old pics. They tell a story too. They help keep stories alive. Those, too are my memories.
Everyone has good memories. I do too. I have great memories. Wonderful, rich, colorful memories I can almost smell. I think of them daily. I remember the giggles, the smile, his passion for art. My fondest memory is the moment I held him in my arms, 14 hours after he was born (because he had to go to NICU). My child. Little did I know on October 6, 2000, at 5:05 am that I would only have him in my arms for 16 years. Thank goodness for pictures. I have one of me holding Zane wrapped in the purple hospital blanket with Daniel on the bed. This treasured photo is now in a memory book dedicated to my baby boy. I probably have more pictures on my cabinets, shelves, walls, and mantel than any 80-year-old. I can’t see him in person anymore, so I have to see him in my memories.
Tomorrow I will probably remember something new. That new memory will make me smile, and carry me through until the next memory. Are memories enough? So far. What will you remember today? What will carry you back to magical moments that sustain you? Maybe you will remember where you left that $20 bill. Or maybe you will pass a photo on your shelf and know exactly when that was taken, and laugh. Always know, when someone talks about a person that has passed, it’s because all they have left is a memory.
Text 741741 if you are needing to talk to someone. Being suicidal is no joke.
Or call 1-800-273-8255