“I’m sad,” my granddaughter lamented earlier this year, before the pandemic. She’d been visiting us and was sad that it was time to go home. I suggested that my granddaughter think of all the fun memories we had made and keep them in her heart and mind. The memories could replace the sadness.
“What’s a memory?” she asked earnestly. Her question brought me up short. The clinical definition of memory might not mean much to a 6-year-old.
What’s a memory? It’s the afghan my mother crocheted for me in my first year of college, a reminder of all her creative acts of love. It’s the smudged cards in my recipe box, reminders of the many women I’ve known who cooked and baked, expressing their care for others. It’s hymns we sing today that remind me of singing next to my father, his tenor voice strong in my ear.
My simple answer to her question was this: Memories are ways we think about things we have done. We can relive the fun, the silliness, and the love as we picture our time together. And we can smile as we remember.
This message is an excerpt from “Grace notes: What’s a memory?” by Linda Post Bushkofsky in the July/August 2020 issue of Gather magazine.