I’ve got a good memory. One of the reasons I chose the theme of exploring memories was because I knew I had lots of them.
But here’s the thing: I know it’s beginning to diminish.
Last night, I forgot to write a blog post. No big deal, but not something I would have forgotten five years ago. It’s strange to be able to see my memory growing weaker. Terrifying sometimes. But mostly just strange. One of those things that comes with age…and you know that you’ve got plenty of beautiful things like wisdom and experience and gray hairs coming with age, too, but you feel that one thing slipping from your fingers.
And you wonder if you’ve made it an idol, and whether you’ll be able to survive without it.
I can’t remember nearly half of 2012. Well, no, it’s there—deep in the background—but I can’t dredge it up very well.
At Christmas that year, when Christine and I began to decorate our tree (accompanied by Filipino Christmas music, hot chocolate, and a YouTube crackling fireplace), Christine couldn’t find her ornaments. When we’d packed up the tree the Christmas before, she’d put them somewhere and they were nowhere to be found a year later. But we had mine, and she had the ones that she’d bought during 2012 (she’d traveled through Europe that summer), so we made a go of it. As she pulled out ornaments from their packages, she held up one, smiling, with an expression of, “Remember this!?” on her face.
It was a ruby slipper. I looked at her, blank.
“From the Smithsonian?” she said. “Dorothy’s slippers?”
Vaguely, the memory of the museum came to me. “That was this year?” I asked.
“It was January,” she said. Then, there was a pause as she looked at me. “Wow, you really did have a rough year.”
The first half of 2012 was one of grief, of stress, of overwork, and pain. I remember those things. I remember those I lost that year.
This past spring I flipped through an old notebook—the one I take with me to church and everywhere and jot notes and thoughts and story ideas whenever they come to me.
One page is dated early January 2012. The next is dated in July.
The forgotten months.