The Memories We Share
I’ve been in a very contemplative mood lately; I think it’s a mix of where I am in my life and the media I consume. But a recent personal trip got me thinking and I wanted to share it.
People always say that those on their death bed always wish they had spent more time with those they loved. They didn’t wish they made more money or got that promotion… it was about people. Connections. Memories.
I have always been intrigued by True Crime; missing persons, serial killers, unsolved mysteries. It’s probably the only non-fiction genre I’ve read outside of mandatory school reading. Not sure what that says about me but rather than a creepy weirdo, I’d like to think I’m introspective and fascinated by what makes people tick. Why do they do the things they do? What motivates them, what pushes them over that edge, is everyone capable of being pushed too far or is it a switch in the brain you have to be born with?
Anyway, untimely death has been on my mind a bit, for no real reason. We had a few family health scares a few months back but everyone is fine. I just simply have been touched more deeply than usual when I hear “This pedestrian was struck” or “3 dead in the latest shooting”. We drove by a car accident the other day that looked horrible: two ambulances were at the scene, people were hugging each other crying; quite possibly there was a death. And I was just caught in the thought that this person was just driving along, on their way to dinner with their family maybe. Perhaps they were celebrating a recent graduation or a birthday. And now, because two cars T-boned, those plans are gone. And the ones for tomorrow, and the anniversary next year. Sure those dates still have meaning to those who’ve survived but it will never be the same. All they’ll have left are memories of their loved one.
Quite morbid but I don’t mean to write this to depress you, dear reader. Rather, just to explain where my head is currently.
Recently my friend got married and I drove down to stay with my family and attend the wedding. It’s a bit funny, I am actually former coworkers of both Bride and Groom although at different establishments. (I quit one job with the bride and started at a new job with the groom). I like this unique experience of knowing each part of a couple in an environment not many people get to see, and hear the way they speak of each other. They have true love; it’s self-less and pure and I know they have found their soulmate in each other. It’s beautiful. So naturally, I was more than happy to witness their union!
Roughly 3 or so hours before I was to drive to the venue, I randomly pulled something in my back. It was so painful, I was virtually immobile leading up to when I had to leave; I used a heating pad and some aspirin which helped a little but each step I took felt like a knife was being stabbed into my back, at the base. I very seriously borrowed my mother’s cane (she doesn’t need to use it anymore) and went off, not allowing this to stop me from attending the wedding.
The wedding was lovely; I heavily leaned on the cane to walk. Bending to sit down was probably the most painful motion. But in a standing still position or once sitting, I had virtually no pain in my back and so I was able to smile and enjoy my the company of my friends.
At this time, I had also just gotten a horrible tooth ache which made smiling and laughing (and excessive talking) very painful but again, I sucked it up and went about the evening.
Finally, we get to the reception. After a glass of wine, my back finally feels to be loosening a bit. I’m sure people thought it was a schtick because I was able to forgo the cane and even dance a bit on the dance floor! Was it painful? Yes. But in that moment, in the circle that we created, I realized that this is what it means to truly live.
There will always be obstacles or burdens; nothing is every perfect. But we need to look past our troubles and enjoy the moment. Because that is what we will remember.
I didn’t want to have to look back at that night and regret that I had to sit in a chair all night because I threw my back out. I had every intention of dancing with the cane if I had to! Granted, I mostly did the “Mom” side-to-side sway, so it wasn’t much of a dance, but the point is that I was a part of the celebration. And every time I laughed and the nerve in my tooth pinged with pain, I knew it was worth it.
I had an amazing evening that night and the after-party with my awesome friend, her friend, and my niece was finally an experience I never had but always wanted in the beautiful town of Savannah.
I then went to my sister’s house, as my aunts were visiting my parents and the guestroom could only hold so many people. I had every intention of leaving that Sunday around 11am but I didn’t actually leave until 7pm.
Why? Because my nieces – both now young women – wanted to spend some time with me. I’ve always visited home at least a couple times a year. We are a very close family, and spend many holidays together. But this was different. It was just a normal day during a random summer and once again I had the realization that, in 5 years, I’m not going to remember leaving at a reasonable time. But I will remember having a wonderful afternoon with my nieces. And I hope that they will remember that day, too.
Life is precious. And it’s fleeting. It may be inconvenient or uncomfortable to step out and experience it, but that’s what it’s all about. To Live while you can. I hope I can make more choices like these and truly be without regret and full of happy memories.