Microblog Mondays: (Un?)Welcome Memories

Microblog_MondaysI started a five year journal (this one) in May 2014 (on E’s third birthday). I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage the pressure of a “full” diary (I’ve tried multiple times and, except for travel diaries, always get bogged down after a few weeks), but I also knew I wanted something a bit more quotidian than this blog or the notebook where I write down E’s milestones and witty sayings.

This particular journal was perfect- even if I miss a day or two (or a week, as has happened), I am always able to go back and reconstruct what happened in enough detail for an entry.

I don’t have a single blank day. And, for close to two years, the journal entries are a mix of notes about E., my PhD, places we went, things we did, dinners we ate, books I read, etc. Just ordinary days in an ordinary life.

I didn’t know, of course, that 2016 was going to happen.

Here’s the thing: my journal preserves memories that I wouldn’t otherwise have. I usually reread the entries for that particular day from previous years and there have been many occasions where the entry has triggered a flood of memories about a day or an event that up until that moment I would have said I’d forgotten about completely.

So I don’t know that I would remember that particular sliding outing at E’s school with my Dad, or that lunch with my stepfather on the patio with the waitress who messed up all of our orders without the prompt of the journal entry.

The entries are nothing special. I didn’t know, of course, that those visits would turn out to be the last visits. I thought we had years left.

There is a stark contrast in the journal between the entries I made before my father’s accident and those that come afterwards. Rereading is physically painful. I don’t recognize the woman who made the entries in 2014 and 2015 or the life that she was living.

I’m hoping that one day I’ll be glad to have those ordinary visits preserved in more than just my memory.

Right now I feel like I never want to touch this journal again once it’s full.

Would you want the memories of those last ordinary days, or would it hurt too much to be reminded of what you had lost?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.


Filed under Family, Grief, Loss, Microblog Mondays, Writing

7 responses to “Microblog Mondays: (Un?)Welcome Memories

  1. I’m too much of a wimp. I think it would be so hard to read about those innocent moments knowing what was about to come. It’s even hard for me to know about strangers’ innocent moments- like things people said to their loved ones right before 9/11. Very interesting post.

  2. I would want to save all of those memories, even if I didn’t want to look at them right now. For example, I kept diaries before my mother got ill when I was a teenager, but I threw them all away when I found out they’d been found and read. I really, really wish I had them now. Also, I didn’t keep any journals at all through the years that my mum was dying – even though they were awful years, they were formative, and I wish I could remember details of them that have gone forever. So yeah, I wish I had the record of the innocent days AND the awful days – years later, you really want to read all that stuff. Our thoughts & feelings evolve and change so much over time that I’m sure you’d regret not having them (if you didn’t have them).

  3. I think some of it depends on how much time has passed. Right now, these things still feel so fresh to you (because they are), but as the above commenter said, you might like to re-read and remember the good times at some point. I sometimes re-read the blogs I wrote before my ex left and the county took the baby. It helps me to remember that feeling of bringing home my first child and all the newness and awe in those moments. It also helps me realize how far I’ve come in parenting and fostering. I too wrote in journals when I was younger and traveling and I sometimes re-read those to remember the details. Sadly, I haven’t really journaled since then, because it would be nice to have some captured memories.

  4. During my childhood I used to maintain journals too . I guess I wrote for about 4 or 5 years. I am not sure if now I would be able write about something which I will loose shortly . I guess it’s hard for me to let go .

  5. This is very interesting question and I don’t know how would my immediate answer be. I maintain my gratitude journal but all days, I am not sure if I will be to document and then go back to look at them. I would be hard as well as enriching to see how far I have come.
    Your post made me think if I need to have something like this for myself and my life.

  6. Turia

    So many interesting perspectives!
    @lshandlefox- That is how I’m feeling at the moment- I look back at myself BEFORE and it’s hard, so hard, to read about how normal everything was and how I had no idea what was coming.
    @differentshoresblog- I appreciate your suggestion that I may feel differently about these memories over time. I guess right now they are so fresh but in future years I might really want to be able to remember that my stepfather came to E’s school fall fair on his last visit- it might be a way for me to help E remember him.
    @Ashley- I sometimes reread parts of this blog from before I had E. to remind myself of how sad and scared I was, and how far I’ve come since then. So you’re right- maybe I will feel the same way about the journal in time.
    @Shilpa Arya and Parul Thakur- I think you’ve both hit the core question I’m wrestling with. Do I want to preserve all my memories if that includes even the most painful ones?

  7. I would definitely want the memories. I know I have some FB reminders and some other reminders of what happened before my mom died. While they are still painful at times, 6 years on, I am thankful to have the reminder. It is difficult and physically painful, as you say, some days, but I do cherish them. I want to remember, even when it is painful. *hugs*

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