Our group topic this week is MEMORIES and REMEMBERING. I thought, “What an easy topic this will be to talk about in my blog!” Then I sat down to write, NOTHING, same thing the next day, and the next, well I guess it’s NOT such an easy topic. I mean, really, where do we begin?
Most of us could recall countless memories of our childhood, our high school experiences, great memories of family and friendships and even memories of our favorite travel destinations. We know that some memories are pleasant and some, like a few from my childhood years, not so pleasant. And, when it comes to remembering a loved one who has died, memories can be something of a curse AND a blessing all at the same time. We cherish them, and at times, those same recollections can bring us to tears. I will tell my groups that this is completely normal and to allow their feelings to just be. Many things will trigger emotions when it comes to memories-especially the five senses.
For example, there were times after Luke’s death that I would see one of our neighbors riding his bike down the street and I’d immediately see Luke. I quickly remembered him on one particular sunny day cruising down our road at top speed and flying into our driveway smiling to himself, most likely, for his excellent bike-riding abilities. As I stood there that day, remembering that point in time, I smiled to myself then cried. And, I’ll never forget the time I was driving somewhere and I heard one of his favorite songs on the radio. It brought me right back to Christmas morning when his sister had given him that CD as a gift, he was so happy and thanked Sammi for the perfect present. This time the tears came streaming down my face all the while trying to keep myself from driving off the road. Very shortly after Luke’s accident, I found his white Fox hat sitting in his room. It was a little grimy and he had written his initials on the brim with an eraser, but it was a piece of him that I could not part with. I would hold it and smell it because it smelled like him-like the wonderful combination of boyhood, sweat, and dirt. And, each of those smells brought back so many memories. One memory that our family and most of Luke’s friends and classmates would remember is of him wearing that hat at an odd angle on the top of his head looking like it might fall off at any minute. We’re still amazed by that feat. It didn’t take long, however, for that smell to disappear, but I’ll always hold dear the gift that that one small hat gave me. The sense of touch is a little bit harder, but what comes to mind for me is the many dreams I’ve had of Luke in the last four and a half years. During my dreams, Luke is almost always a toddler. And, each time, in those magnificent nighttime wanderings, I am walking alongside my son and holding his doughy little hand. I can feel him clutching my fingers tightly as we’re guiding each other along a sidewalk somewhere unknown. I always awaken with the feeling of truly being with him and I’ve never forgotten those dreams or the way his sweet little hand felt in mine.
Memories are wonderful gifts that become more and more valuable each day. As we reminisce, these memories will transport us back in time to a place of sheer joy and sometimes overwhelming pain. However, it is so important to honor the memories of our loved ones. Sometimes, I might light a candle or sometimes I go for a ride on my mountain bike and at times I’ll even go (almost as) fast as he used to. Whatever it is you want to do to honor their lives, it is important that you do. It keeps their memory alive for us and for them, it’s like we’re saying, “Thanks for the memories.”