Memories…Some say they are good, others say they are bad.
Memories have the potential to make us smile or laugh, but also have the power to destroy our hearts time and time again. Memories have of course brought me happiness; yet it seems they’ve brought more sadness if I am actually honest.
As I was sitting reflecting on things tonight, I began to realize that just because the memories are overpowering at a particular moment in your day or in life in general, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the means to stir up the past. Take for example, the song that you listened to as you departed the vacation he proposed to you on, him standing exactly one wall away, separating international and domestic flights, separating you from him. Not knowing when you’d see him again, unsure of the future, despite the proposal. Knowing without a doubt this was the happiest moment of your life, yet the aching in your heart made you feel otherwise. As David Gray’s voice mournfully comes through the headphones into your ears, the tears continue to run down your cheeks. The passenger in the seat next to you, as you are now on the plane taxiing to the runway, smiles, acknowledging the sadness that is overtaking you, and for no other reason than to offer some encouraging words, tells you that it will be alright, you will see each other again soon.
I remember smiling slightly in that moment, wanting nothing more than to pour out the story of the past 7 days, of the past, two-plus years, of my life. But this person was a stranger; they didn’t actually care, they were just trying to be kind. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye continues streaming into your ears until preflight demands require all electronic devices be shut down. As the plane awaits its turn on the runway for take-off, the past week plays like a slow-motion movie through your mind as you try to calm your heart, calm the emotions screaming inside your body.
That sadness never left me. Even today I contain the sadness that I felt that day. Perhaps it’s because I’ve loved and lost? Perhaps because the story has fully played out now: we did see each other again a short time later, got married, and well that’s where I leave it to the memories. This is where all the good times take over; make me wonder how and why it went wrong. I wish sometimes when I feel like this, heartbroken, sad at the (many) losses over the years, sadder regarding this loss than any I’ve ever experienced, that I didn’t have memories. That there was an expiration date for sad memories and once this date was reached, these memories disappeared. But alas, no medical treatment I’m aware of that has yet to have this power.
If the memory is wiped away though, would we feel disconnected to our past? If we were to see this person again after the memory had been removed, would we even recognize them? Would we fall for them all over again or, because the brain knows how this story would end, would it steer us away from each other? I’ve found it incredibly interesting in recent years, or less, that no matter where I go or end up, I am always brought back to people from my past. Good or bad, doesn’t matter. In some cases, there is no escaping certain people, especially those who have dominated the nightmares I regularly experience and who have helped to create the battles I fight within. But in some cases the people, friends, ex-boyfriends, even some family that I’ve sworn off, that I’ve shut the door on at the time because of the hurt or the damage they’ve caused, end up back in my life. Some people have been given far too many chances at redeeming themselves, yet here I am, allowing them back in, one little bit at a time. Deep down, deep down I know I just do not want to allow them in, but what if it works this time? What if they have changed for the good? There are few people I am willing to take this chance on. There are some I would let in without question, regardless of the past.
Then there are those who did not make me the best version of myself when I had them in my life. Or even more accurately, I had too many demons at the time; I was blinded by how good of a person they actually were and our story ended poorly. However, here we are, our lives have travelled down paths that have lead us apart and now, somehow, back together. Herein lies my current state of distress: simply, the memories have allowed the “what if’s” and “what could have been’s” to overtake the reality of “what is”. Reflecting tonight on just life in general, has made me well aware that this door should remain closed.
Sometimes, without question, what’s in the past should remain in the past. At times it haunts us throughout the remainder of our lives; poor choices, rash decisions, devastation, abuse, and love are all difficult to let go of; case in point for yours truly. I’ve accepted an incredible amount of “it is what it is” from the past, ultimately supported by the memories. There are some that I will never give up on. Deep down I know there’s no way to change the past, there’s no way to make up for the lost time and there’s likely too much damage done, to ever come back from. But, in the case of the devastating David Gray induced, departures and airplane crying, I will always hold on to this and hope the story takes a different turn. I hope that one day I wake up and this has all been a long, crazy dream. But, I am a realist, so to speak, and I know it will never happen. The memories in this case, are all that remains mutually.
How they guide us, break us, make us stronger or weaker, and create within us the unbaiting discontentment with life as we long for the past. They create within a reminder of who we want to be; who we should have been, and what we cannot actually change. Memories, in this aspect are necessary I guess for successful growing in oneself?
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but what makes us weaker, may actually kill us.