A box of old photos, some faded letters and a sterling silver teapot swaddled in bubblewrap arrived on the doorstep. There was a handwritten note with little pink hearts nestled in the tissue paper.
That personal note recalled memories brought to life by this box of treasures. Reading the note conjured the images of a little blonde-haired girl laughing as she tore the wrapping paper off a Christmas present, of a smiling couple cutting a tiered cake while music, laugher and conversation drifted in the background. Poignantly, the heartfelt note conveyed some lasting, loving experiences shared with a husband who passed away much too soon.
Fourteen years had slipped by since he died. Teenagers were now married adults with children of their own. Family and friends were now retired, had moved, dealt with health issues, or also passed away. In the blink of an eye, 14 years of life happened.
Recently, my daughter and I had been sifting through moving boxes in a hot, humid garage sorting out what to keep, what to donate and what to discard. Suddenly we both broke into tears and laughter as we gazed at old photos and touched treasured keepsakes. Memories of vacations, holidays, adventures and milestones came to life as we both warmly shared our fondest experiences.
It was as if the entire garage had been turned into a live stage and dozens of life’s vignettes were being acted out right before our eyes. We laughed till tears ran down our cheeks. We rolled our eyes at bad hairdo’s and our fashion faux pas. We grew silent in personal reflection as we read his postcards and letters to us.
Our memories were more alive than ever. Suddenly it was like the 14 years had vanished and we were reliving the highlight clips of our lives.
A fascinating observation about memories is how each of us has a different perspective, poignant moment or touchpoint that resonates with us. The memory is enhanced by each of us adding our personal details.
It becomes richer in color, more alive and subsequently, a more vivid memory.
We carefully boxed up some photos, letters, and the silver and shipped them to his sister. I could envision her surprise and rush of memories as she unpacked the treasures.
What I had not anticipated was the gift I would receive in return — a lengthy note back to me chock full of her own beautiful memories of her brother and her grandmother. Some of these stories were new to me and others I’d forgotten. Now I could watch a movie in my head of another young girl with bouncing curls on a New York shopping spree with her doting grandmother many decades ago.
I’ve learned a few noteworthy things from my recent trip down memory lane.
- Memories are best when shared.
- Memories are inspirational and often serve as reminders of what is most important in our busy lives. Make time for your loved ones.
- Each of us has a filter through which we process an experience. Be mindful of other’s filters and appreciative of their perspective.
- Most importantly, memories can remind us just how much we were and are loved.
Inspired by BreatheShelleyGirl and her post ” I love you. Have a cookie.”