Blogs, Bookish Things, Healing the Body & Spirit

I Am The Memory Keeper

Longing, loss, lost and grief. Some of the hardest things to work with and I’m not talking about just the death of “a person” – it can be the death of a routine, a recipe you lost from your great-great-grandmother, a job opportunity you thought you had in the bag, or you just found out they discontinued your favorite brand of toilet paper. Grief is not something to be “cured” or “get over” – hell no. You have to live through it, grapple with it, smack it down and watch it bounce back up and feel it tear your heart to pieces. The bummer is in our society, we are taught to deny our grief.  We can have it for a little bit, but not too long because we need to “get over it”.

John Green said the following in his novel, “The Fault in Our Stars”.

“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer which meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”

POWERFUL!  Boy, I personally understand this quote to its tightest throat-strangling point. I lost my entire birth family before I was 50. Parents and siblings.  All the birth-family participants that co-created my childhood memories have passed on. That is how I became the “Keeper of Memories”.

Brene Brown says when we experience loss we will then have longing, which is a type of “yearning for wholeness, for understanding, for meaning, for the opportunity to regain or even simply touch what we’ve lost”.  It seems most of us try to keep those longings to ourselves so we don’t appear weak  (what the “f” is that all about?  Who taught us that!?!”)

LOST LOST LOST – Frozen in time.  Nothing is normal and we fear telling people we feel lost. Why is this happening? The experience of grief – the effect of grief actually, is that we must reorient ourselves to our physical, emotional and social world.  Again. With “I’m Grieving” stamped on your forehead.  Remember, this happens from “grieving” anything, not just a person.  The loss of your sanity, the shock of being told you are terminally ill. We forget how to behave, where to park the car, or stare at a word and not comprehend its meaning even if life depended on it.

How do we pull ourselves out of this quagmired quicksand box of grief?  Carefully. Gently and within our own time-frame.  And, dammit, by forgiving.  The new “f” word in society. For forgiveness to occur, something has to die.  Here we go again, the longing, loss, lost and grief. To forgive, we must feel the pain of each of those. Forgiveness involves death and grief.

Forgiving those that died, forgiving the boss that didn’t give you that well-deserved promotion, forgiving your husband for watching football every damn Sunday, forgiving your hairdresser for the stupid “doo” she gave you just before a wedding. It’s all connected – forgiveness is paramount.  That word has made me cringe my entire life.  I hate it.

So, let’s replace that “f” word with “Letting Go” – is not just to be altruistic, letting go really is the best form of “self-interest”.  It doesn’t exclude feeling hatred and anger – that’s all part of being human. To that point, I read this from somewhere . . .

“You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things:  The depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.”

I’ve been rambling on for quite some time so I’m going to complete this long-winged musing with a poignant and exceptionally “in your face” quote by C.S. Lewis.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

To love is to be vulnerable.

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