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Remembering what to remember

Friday, September 20, 2013

“Memory lives longer than what it remembers.”

This quote from Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Cycle is stuck in my head. The entire work has been stuck in my head lately, but this quote may as well be lit with neon and hung right behind my eyes.

I remember hopping up behind my dad on his motorcycle. He used to pick me up at grade school and that gave this very un-cool girl some appreciation, let me tell you! More so than when he would pick me up in his police cruiser.

I remember that, because he did shift work, Dad was able to come to my daytime assemblies at school and watch me square dance in my blue-swirl frock with the pink velvet ribbon, or listen to my flatulent French Horn rendition of “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”.

I remember when Dad had us stay up half the night looking for money my step-brother claimed one of us had stolen, but which he had actually spent at See’s Candy that day. At the time, it seemed like a symptom of insanity to have five kids searching each other’s rooms to find money we all knew wasn’t there. But in retrospect it was a pretty good lesson about accusing people without proof.

I remember my Dad’s fits, I remember the cross-country trips he took us on when we were kids, and the motorcycle trips he & my step-mom, and my cousin and I took as adults. I remember sitting with him in front of the stereo and taking apart pieces of music, sharing what that piece said to each of us. I remember him playing guitar and eating Filippi’s Pizza and Winchell’s Doughnuts.

And I remember him walking me down the aisle, which was really a path in a garden. I remember he said, “It’s okay. You don’t have to hurry. He’s there waiting for you.”

I can remember all of this and more. But he cannot. He knows I’m 55, but says he remembers me as 12. He knows he is forgetting, but doesn’t know what he is forgetting. He says that he doesn’t like it, but he can accept that this is what is happening to him, but then cries, ‘please, please, please don’t take my memories.’

Does memory live longer than what it remembers? It must. He does not remember, so the memories are in my keeping. Not to be held, but to be shared, so someday my children and grandchildren will tell the stories to their own kids : that my Daddy was a motorcycle riding, horse-loving, pizza eating cowboy.

And I love him.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think G*d keeps our memories....and I wish mine were more lovlier of my Dad, but they arent. Treasure the good, forget the bad as I alway tell my kids. My Dad was also a Policeman until he lost his badge and he and I ate donuts every only good memory of him; and wed both would eat a dozen of them. His favorite were jelly donuts! Mine was custard. It was One bad habit I had to stop or I would end up as Fat as he was. (359 when he died) He died at an early age due to overweight and a weak heart and emphesema (due to black lung) . I remember many of his stories, also a good thing about him. He could yarn a good story but itw as how I found his siblings after 30 years! Jews love to tell stories!
    I am still trying to forget the bad part of him! But Keeping the good memories! Hugs. You do the same! susana
    1447 days ago
    Really beautiful tribute to your Dad. I love the imagery of the memories now being in your keeping "not to be held, but to be shared."
    1578 days ago
    From one daddy's girl to another...thank you. This is such a beautiful blog! You are a testament to your precious father. I am crying...for the loss of his memories, for your loss, for my gratitude that I can call my dad right now and he will know who I am. Thank you for touching us in such a profound way!
    1609 days ago
    You've written something beautiful, bittersweet memories. Thank you for sharing.

    DeAnne, Missourians Team
    1610 days ago
  • WALNUTT1961
    Thank you for this beautiful blog. Thinking of you and your family.
    1611 days ago
    Teary eyed! This is a beautiful blog. Your father sounds like a wonderful man.
    1611 days ago
  • RX_2_RV

    What a sweet loving tribute to your dad. I'm tearing up.
    Memory loss is hard on everyone in the family.

    You are so right about the husband's family has a rich story telling tradition and it sure brings to life, for me, those folks who passed on before I joined the family.

    In case you ever need an ear or some ideas about how to cope with behaviors that result from the memory problems, please know that I am here as a support person for you. I consulted in long term care facilities for 13 years and have had a lot of experience working with memory impaired adults. I may not have all the answers, but I have a few ideas and an inkling of what you might be going through.

    1611 days ago
    Your memories are precious!!
    1611 days ago
  • --DEBY--
    emoticon Bless your heart my friend...
    the memories live on...

    1611 days ago
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