Friday, October 11, 2013

Struggling to remember

Living here in a place that I only vacationed before, all of a sudden I will have a memory surface. It greets me like a movie scene, full of depth and color. Then as quick as it came, it is gone.
I am left wondering what value they have. When a vivid memory stirs my present reality there is a sense of loss that comes as well. Time is moving on and taking me with it. I am not the person that I was when I first experienced that which is now my memory. But even more then that I feel a loss for all the things I can no longer remember, all those yesterdays for which I have no recollection. I have 36 years full of days behind me but only a few minutes here and there are memorable to me. The rest of my life is more of an impression. There were the college years, my trip to Italy, my early childhood when my parents were still married and we lived on a farm, the years my Mom was living with her third husband, the year when we moved to Florida and my mother didn't tell anyone. That was the lost year. Each of these phases leaves an impression on my mind and I can pick out a few memories from each, but there is so much I can't bring to mind, both pleasant and unpleasant.
My oldest daughter can remember what she was wearing the day her first sister was born; the details of the place where she stayed overnight with my mother. My daughter was 18 months old. There are no pictures to tell the tale. Those are real memories. My memories are so fractured. I often wonder if it is my mind's way of dealing with the bad things, the abuse, the things I wanted to forget. So that now, when I want to remember every single detail of every moment with my children, my mind has trained itself to forget. It has learned to file my memories away where they can't  sneak up on me again later. Where they can't stab me in the back when I let down my guard. If my memories can't find me, they can't hurt me.
I struggle to make memories that stick. I look at the face of my one year old. I look and I look. I say to myself, "I will remember this moment. I will not forget."
Yet later, although I can remember my mantra and the intention behind it, I cannot conjure up the memory. I can remember my longing to preserve the moment forever but not the image I tried so hard to burn into my conciseness. I am left with the longing, with the loss. I am left with my struggle to remember.

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