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Thanks for the Memories

June 4, 2015

memories 1We all have memories. A photo, a trinket or maybe even a scar can trigger them. Some are good, some not. What is baffling is how some memories of an event remain clear years later; while others are forgotten soon after they’ve occurred.

What then, makes a memory stick? Joyous occasions, like weddings and graduations? Or a personal traumatic event? Or perhaps moments that change the course of history. Everyone remembers where he or she was on 9/11. But why aren’t those little moments in between the big ones remembered? Do they not count if we don’t remember them? Is that why we’re posting every mundane moment online instead of actually appreciating the moment in the moment?

If it takes lots of memories to build our life’s journey, what about those bumper stickers telling us, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you’re still re-reading the last one” or “Don’t look back you’re not going that way”? Should we forget everything from our past? Or just weed out the bad chunks, like a divorce or when a loved one dies? And if we’re really cleaning house, what about those painful memories lingering from high school that still trigger raw emotions and awkward dreams?

memories 2Perhaps those maxims are actually telling us not to forget the bad times, but to let go of the resentments attached to them. Maybe that’s the key to moving on. In the last four years I have spoken to thousands of people about my grandfather’s experiences in the Holocaust and every talk ends with the words, “We can never forget.” I didn’t live through that horrendous ordeal, but my grandfather, who’s going to be 94 in August, did. After losing his entire family and surviving indescribable treatment, what kept him forging ahead and becoming successful and starting anew, was not forgetting. His goal was to create a new family to replace all those he lost and prove life was still worth living. The pain of the past pushed him to live a full life and to give all that he could.

Memories make us who we are. But it’s how we remember those memories that make us who we are to become.

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9 Comments
  1. edes gilbert permalink

    Thank you!,, Lovely……..

  2. Joe Faucette permalink

    As you get older your time for memories grows and expands and I think that it is a good thing. I think your last line in your blog was outstanding and right on.

  3. Sharon Lustgarten permalink

    Beautiful…

  4. Jim Kirstein permalink

    Right on!

  5. Tom Olverson permalink

    Felice, wow! This blog is so rich, so full of how we can connect past to present in meaningful ways. Your wisdom and insight into the human spirit are truly special! Thank you!

  6. Dad permalink

    Memories light the corners of my mind
    Misty water-colored memories of the way we were

    Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
    Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were.

    Can it be that it was all so simple then
    Or has time rewritten every line
    If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we, could we

    Memories may be beautiful and yet
    What’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget
    So it’s the laughter we will remember
    Whenever we remember the way we were.

    The way we were

  7. james nomikos permalink

    I think also that for what ever reason your grandfather was able to go forward. many were not (primo Levi) for example. you are truly Blessed Felice. thanks for sharing naomi

  8. Marilyn Solomon permalink

    Love this blog! Give Papa a kiss from us when you see him next!😘

  9. Richard Aberson permalink

    Insightful and well said.

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