The human memory. It’s both a gift and a curse.
Without memory, there would be no nostalgia. There would be no reminiscing over happy times. But, without memory, there would also be no regrets; no sadness. No grief…
To some degree – a large degree – we’re asked in scripture to live in the present. Learn from the past via our memories, but without drowning in them. We are not to “live in the past”, as it were. But sometimes, following that advice is hard as the mind sometimes goes where it will despite every intention and effort not to – like an unbroken stallion. I guess the task, then, is in dealing with this beast when it runs on its own: bridling it in; bringing it back to now.
On the same token, we’re told not to worry about the future. As I like to say: make plans for the future to protect yourself and your place in it, but don’t dwell on it or try to control it. That last bit isn’t for us. But who doesn’t find that majestic beast in their skull dragging them forward to turn some issue or aspect over and over at some point or other?
One of the joys of widowhood and the “widow brain” fog that seems to fall on us is the apparent inability to exert much control on either – vaulting into the past and worrying into the future like a yoyo.
I write this retrospectively – I’ve come a long, long way in a relatively short time on this. I find myself remembering often, but less so with the sadness and melancholy of loss. And, thanks to a new relationship with a wonderful woman who has gone through this same experience: I don’t wonder at what lonely trials the future may hold for me.
But many things have changed in a relatively short time. My youngest daughter has left the nest. She was the most company I had whenever I was at home. To be fair to her, though, since I’ve retired, I’ve been spending less and less time here – it wouldn’t have been fair to expect her to stay basically all by herself. My youngest son remains in the house, but he works a shift which ensures most waking time here is spent alone. She made the right decision.
When here, I work to alleviate the neglect that my 30-year mostly-on-the-road career, the parade of dogs and cats that came through the house since we’ve been here, etc. has resulted in so that the house can eventually be sold. And, that brings us back to memories. Emptying the house of those things that made it our particular home, as messy as it may have been. Each piece having some memory or other attached to it; having to willfully relegate these things to the trash heap…