We forget all too soon the things we would never forget
Joan Didion said it: "I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, and who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget." From On Keeping a Notebook.
She is right, I do believe. So many fleeting images of the past appear in life's ephemeral slideshow of unconnected reveries, and so many times, I wish I could ask a parent for missing pieces, or call the friend I've lost touch with for unremembered details. One of the reasons I enjoy keeping a visual journal (and before that a very sporadic written one) is to be able to recall those moments. The moments do not have to be happy ones to fill that need to document. For the first year after my young husband died unexpectedly and suddenly, I kept a close journal of thoughts - good and bad - and dreams - which during that time were vivid and quite accessible - to get me through the hard days. I sometimes read those thoughts to remember him and as a way to remind myself that we do get through these things. In a way, our photos - especially the ubiquitous digital ones - do that, which is why we struggle with the idea of weeding through them. But photos usually only tell the happy stories. While we never want to dwell on the unhappy ones, they do instruct.
Perhaps I am veering too far off my original intent (which was, I think, don't lose track of who you were once), I add this thought on the next day: I am reminded (Brain Pickings) of Maira Kalman's observation regarding her beloved dog's death: When Tibor died, the world came to an end. And the world did not come to an end. That is something you learn.
Just some passing thoughts on this bright and sunny July day.