Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Memory: Kids at Christmas and Lost Memories

I had the privilege of spending last weekend with my cousin, Cody. He's only a couple years younger than me and we can easily recall fun and crazy cousin adventures we had when we were kids. He surprised me with this picture and asked if I could remember anything about it. Unfortunately, other than what we could derive from the surroundings, neither he nor I could recall anything. This photo was snapped at my Grandma Carol's house at Christmas time - that much we know. But even Grandma Carol couldn't tell us any more than that. Gauging by our ages, this picture may have been from the Christmas of the Surprise Santa Clause. But I don't know for sure.
I also don't know if cousin Cody, sister Jen, and I are screaming, laughing, or perhaps singing. I don't know why we're dressed up and I don't know what Cody and Jen are looking at. But dang, this old photograph is just too great not to include in this series.

The fact that I can't remember what this picture is all about really got me thinking. All of us have experienced events, witnessed scenes, and felt emotions that at the time were invigorating, terrifying, or even awe-inspiring. And all of us, despite thinking we won't, have forgotten some of them. I started this Monday Memory series as a weekly gift to my mother. Her memories of all my childhood events (and most things really) were cruelly stolen from her over two years ago. But now she likes to hear us talk about our past misadventures. She likes going through old photographs and reading these posts. But I have to accept that no matter how many conversations we have, or how many thousands of words I write, she will only ever be getting my version of these memories. I don't know how she was feeling or what she was thinking and I simply cannot give her any memory that is unique and true to her. But I can keep giving her these posts as an attempt to make her feel connected to the memories she's lost.

A wonderful and unexpected side effect of posting memories (or in this case, a non-memory) from the past it that now they are written down and chronicled somewhere. The year isn't even over yet, and I'm enjoying pursuing and laughing at posts from months ago. One day when I am old and my memory is fading, I will have a years worth of memories to keep me anchored. One day, if they're so inclined, Lana and her little sister can laugh at their mom's silly childhood stories and awkward adolescent pictures.

A sudden illness took my mother's memories in a near instant, but in truth, we're all losing memories everyday. I know I can't stop that inevitable erosion completely, but through one memory per week, I can at least slow it down.

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