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I have no idea how one human brain can hold so many snapshots of their life. What an incredible amount of things that one person can remember! And how thankful I am that there is such a thing as the capacity to remember. How many absolutely vital parts of my life would be lost if I could not remember the people around me and the places that I have been. This may be one of my favorite God-given gifts.
And memories are so perfectly personal. I love that no one else can remember the sound of Ben’s voice that April day in the Peace Garden when he proposed or the rush of euphoria when I first saw Abby and thought how amazingly, perfectly beautiful she was (I admit, I’m not someone who things that babies are inherently adorable; I was expecting a wrinkly little red thing). No one can possibly remember those moments just like I do. It’s impossible for someone else to have the same memory no matter how I describe it; those are strictly mine.
Of course with the sweet memories come the depressing, hurtful, and melancholy ones as well. But we have to have these, don’t we, in order to better appreciate the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful ones? I choose to be thankful that the sheer amount of fantastic memories I have far far outweigh the less than stellar ones.
Several years ago, my Grandpa Eager died as a victim of Alzheimer’s. I don’t know for certain that he lost all of his memories, but I do know that if he couldn’t remember who he was, his family remembers for him. I’ve heard repeatedly how people live on through others’ memories, and while I don’t disagree with that, I don’t know as it captures exactly what I believe. I think that other peoples’ memories of us also serve the necessary purpose of helping us remember who we are before we die. For every moment when we are lost or forget who we are, someone else has the gift of a memory to remind us, to pull us back within ourselves.
I always have a hard time replacing pictures in frames. Something about that, like it’s hiding a memory, seems wrong to me. This is something that I’ll gladly be a packrat for; what better purpose is there than to hoard memories? Keep a camera ready and your memory album open. It’s good to review them once in a while and meander down memory lane. This, I believe.