Writing is a futile attempt to preserve what disappears moment by moment. All that remains of my mother is what I remember and what I have written for and about her. Eventually that is all that will remain of [my husband] and me. Writing sometimes feels frivolous and sometimes sacred, but memory is one of my strongest muses. I serve her with my words. So long as people read, those we love survive however evanescently. As do we writers, saying with our life's work, Remember. Remember us. Remember me.
Memory's so treacherous. One moment you're lost in a carnival of delights with poignant childhood aromas, the flashing neon on puberty, all that sentimental candyfloss The next, it leads you somewhere you don't want to go. . Somewhere dark and cold, filled with the damp ambiguous shapes of things you'd hoped were forgotten.
Many pundits today are in the habit of misquoting Santayana's epigram, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Maybe some people have come to grief this way, but they are probably fewer than those who have fallen into the opposite error. One is apt to perish in politics from too much memory, Tocqueville wrote somewhere, with equal truth and greater insight.
One of the greatest things about daughters is how they adored you when they were little; how they rushed into your arms with electric delight and demanded that you watch everything they do and listen to everything they say. Those memories will help you through less joyous times when their adoration is replaced by embarrassment or annoyance and they don't want you to see what they are doing or hear what they are saying. And yet, you will adore your daughter every day of her life, hoping to be valued again, but realizing how fortunate you were even if you only get what you already got.
People can't seem to get it through their heads that there is never any healing or closure. Ever. There is only a short pause before the next "horrifying" event. People forget there is such a thing as memory, and that when a wound "heals" it leaves a permanent scar that never goes away, but merely fades a little. What really ought to be said after one of these so-called tragedies is, "Let the scarring begin.
Science and Technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response. Expelled from individual consciousness by the rush of change, history finds its revenge by stamping the collective unconscious with habits, values, expectations, dreams. The dialectic between past and future will continue to form our lives.
That was how things were back then. Anything that grew took its time growing, and anything that perished took a long time to be forgotten. But everything that had once existed left its traces, and people lived on memories just as they now live on the ability to forget quickly and emphatically.