Memories light the corner of my mind

If you were to take a mental journey back throughout your life, how would you describe your fondest memory? There is such diversity around the world that I suspect there are thousand of unique answers to that question.

Some undoubtedly would recall an event with a close friend. Others might recall a specific meal that was eventful. (My husband loves to cook, and I suspect this would be near the top of his list!) Maybe  you  recall something material, like a toy, a vehicle, or a home. With readers from literally around the world, I would love to hear what is one of your favorite memories.

I grew up in a ‘traditional’ American family. Our family was not perfect, but what is the definition of a perfect family? My greatest blessings came from under that roof where I woke up in the morning and fell asleep each evening. Memories come back with events such as cheering on our beloved Indiana Hoosiers in 1976. Carolers visited our home on Christmas Eve the year my dad survived a massive stroke. Politics. . . oh the political discussions in our home. Card games that were a fight to the bitter end as everyone battled to the rowdy end.  That first letter from home that I received while away at college. I shared in yesterday’s post about one memory of my father. When I heard of the death of Andy Williams, it transported me back many years ago as though I could still hear my dad’s deep bass voice bellowing throughout the house. Thankfully he sang on pitch!

It is fair to say that each of us had a deep admiration for my father. He had the ability to make each of us feel unique, loved, and valuable. He left a legacy that is a daily challenge to follow.

This morning began like nearly every morning for me, with a morning call to check on my mother. She sounded delightfully perky, which always puts a smile on my face. We discussed several light topics. Severe storms had passed by our area during the night, and I asked if she had awoken in the middle of the night.

“I don’t remember much of the storm. But, I have to tell you something! I had the most amazing thing happen!!”

“Please, tell me. You have my full attention”, I thought to myself. “What is it, Mom?”

“I saw your dad last night!”

Long, painful silence

I fumbled for words. What do I say? How do I respond? I am not prepared for this. With a sudden burst of words, I managed to blurt out, “That is wonderful, Mom. You know, it was so nice yesterday when I could practically hear Dad singing away with Andy Williams.” Were those the right words? Emotions poured through my head and my heart. And then I stopped for a moment.

Does this stage have to be negative?

It doesn’t, for me anyway. I miss my father dearly, and it was wonderful to sit back and hear her describe a recollection of the events. He had spoken to her. What did he say? I didn’t ask. I would love to have another conversation with him. In retrospect, the conversation brought back such fond memories.

“My first outdoor cooking memories are full of erratic British summers, Dad swearing at a barbecue that he couldn’t put together, and eventually eating charred sausages, feeling brilliant.” – Jamie Oliver

What are your thoughts? How would you have responded? I would love to hear your input.

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27 thoughts on “Memories light the corner of my mind

  1. jmd5717 September 27, 2012 at 11:04 am Reply

    This reminds me of a quote from my favorite show, Seinfeld. Jerry said this to Susan’s parents after she passed away, “She’s not really dead if we find a way to remember her.”

    Of course this was said in humor, but it speaks volumes about death in my opinion and what you had to say as well. The ones closest to us never die, when we are able to hold them in our memories, especially if we chose honor them with in a positive light.

    Well done!

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    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 27, 2012 at 11:12 am Reply

      First of all, I’m laughing out loud because of the Seinfeld comment! I am pretty certain that if my dad could say anything, it would include telling us to laugh as much as possible every day. Thank you for your insight!

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      • jmd5717 September 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

        You are very welcome! The episode is called “The Foundation” by way, its a classic as many of them are.

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  2. amyunjaded September 27, 2012 at 11:12 am Reply

    while i have not yet had to deal with the death of a parent, i have lost a grandmother to whom i was extremely close with. i can often smell her perfume, hear her singing off key, and smell the baking of her goodies. i can sometimes hear her laugh in my head to something that i had done or said and i can hear chastise me when i make mistakes. while it might not be exactly “sane” for those things, it keeps them alive through us.

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    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 27, 2012 at 11:17 am Reply

      I think that is perfectly sane! I am glad you had her for a role model. I hadn’t thought of scents before you commented. I can practically smell my grandmother’s perfume now. Enjoy those memories!

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      • amyunjaded September 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

        i think of scents especially about her, she was such a good cooks, so a lot of my memories of her revolve around food and smells 🙂

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      • amyunjaded September 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

        and i agree that it’s perfectly sane!

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  3. Anne Wingate September 27, 2012 at 11:15 am Reply

    This is a very common phenomenon. I would have asked her how he looked, what he said,and so forth; in fact,that’s what I DID do when my mother-in-law spoke of visits from her deceased husband. I have had visits from my dead daughter, and at least one of them left me sputtering with laughter and saying, “Getouttahere” just as I would have done if she had pulled the same stunt when she was alive. People don’t necessarily change that much just because they die.

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    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 27, 2012 at 11:20 am Reply

      You are right – I think I will ask her more about it later today. I’m glad you have had some moments from your daughter that have brought back laughter. Thank you for sharing some of your story.

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  4. lenwilliamscarver September 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm Reply

    I would have asked what did he say, how did he look? I smell my mothers perfume and smell my fathers pall mall cigarettes all the time. I feel my daughters arms around my neck and shoulders quite often as well. I am so blessed that they come to see me or check on me it is always a pleasant encounter.

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    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm Reply

      Thank you for sharing your insight. Isn’t it so amazing and interesting what smells and images can evoke the presence of a family member with just a mention?

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      • lenwilliamscarver September 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        Oh my yes and as I said grateful they still come around and look out for me. LOL

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  5. writerwannabe763 September 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm Reply

    We have the advantage and luxury of not having to say something right after hearing your mother…we have time to think whereas you didn’t and were caught off-guard. …so being in your place it’s hard to say…But having the time factor to think about it…I think I would say firstly, what you did…that it was wonderful…and then ask her to tell me more about what happened and what she thought about it…And then what you said was good in that you referred to remembering him yourself just recently…

    I guess she didn’t say anymore about it so perhaps all she needed to say was what she did and maybe there was no need to say more…Diane.

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    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm Reply

      She added some comments that I initially omitted for editing sake. (I really do appreciate others’ input.) She said he was just so peaceful and calming as he spoke with her, and he was very reassuring. It made me think of him all day, and I can hear his loud boisterous laugh myself! I am so thankful she shared it with me, in retrospect. Thank you for the suggestions on bringing the subject back up again. I’ve decided to do so when my husband is also present because I know we will both enjoy the conversation.

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  6. managingemergencies September 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm Reply

    I think writerwannabe763 is right on with that comment. Good story.

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    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm Reply

      I agree – she has some great questions! Thank you for your encouragement.

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  7. LubbyGirl September 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm Reply

    I had to laugh at the picture – from one of my husband’s favorite movies (he searched diligently until he found a copy to buy). As my husband and I have lost both parents and spouses, this really spoke to me. I have wonderful memories of my late husband, and seem to quote him daily. Sometimes it’s just a smell, or a tilt of someone’s head a certain way as they sing a song he used to sing with gusto and fervor, that makes me think of him. And I smile. It also makes me sad, though, to know that my sons still don’t talk about him much. They process grief differently, and they loved him so much that they say they cannot talk about him without feeling the loss more acutely. I always felt I must talk about him. It helped me process the loss. When they’re ready, I’ll be here. Right now this stage is negative for them, but not for me. So I’ll wait.
    Thanks so much for sharing this!

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  8. Jenn September 28, 2012 at 2:35 am Reply

    Still having both parents im not sure how i would respond. When I read your words tho I felt such a beautiful bittersweet feeling of both joy and sadness. I smiled. I’m sure he was with her. It made her happy. To me that is beautiful. I’m sure if i was in the same situation i would be lost for words with a lump in my throat. Sometimes words are not needed. Sometimes just saying thats wonderful and meaning it is what matters 🙂

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  9. godsabundantgirl September 28, 2012 at 9:13 am Reply

    Having an a ha moment…..I thought it was “memories LIKE the corner of my mind”. That phrase makes so much more sense now!

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  10. ansuyo September 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm Reply

    My mother “visits” my dreams every now and then. I love memories of my family singing hymns. It’s a tradition my mother kept alive, and with her passing and that of my brother, it has become rare. I’ve been thinking about doing something about that!

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  11. yepirategunn September 29, 2012 at 7:09 am Reply

    As a father of daughters..its hard to comment after such a powerful piece…what you wrote is really emotions in letters.

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    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 29, 2012 at 10:31 am Reply

      I am in my 40’s, and my dad continues to direct my thoughts and actions when I contemplate what he would do. You have a powerful opportunity like no one else in the world. I am sure you are doing a great job!

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  12. rachelmeeks October 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm Reply

    I happened to read this post today, the day a friend of mine happened to pass away unexpectedly. “Does this stage have to be sad?”

    …..I don’t know.

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    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm Reply

      I am sure I would have a very different response at that point in time. Grieving is a very healthy and needed thing. I would most certainly expect your friend to be sad today.

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