Weekly Writing Challenge – Memory

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Weekly Discover Challenge

I don’t remember some things and that disturbs me. I pride myself in my excellent memory and watching my mother become a child again, I feel personally responsible for gathering details of our lives, past and present.

Since I was a child I’ve carried the burden of sentimentality – the desire to picture scenes in my mind and hold them forever dear. A picture memory of myself as a young girl, standing in the kitchen like any other morning. That morning I must have sensed that the routine as I knew it was drawing to a close. Mum was brushing my hair and I was standing staring at the yellow floral wallpaper at the end of the kitchen. I knew I was growing up and soon I would be doing my own hair.

The mothering was comforting, her scent, the gentle strokes of her hand moving alternatively with the brush strokes. The slightly crunchy sound of the brush moving through my hair. Sometimes she would damp the end of her finger in her mouth and use it to wipe a dirty mark from my face. Lovely… primordial, mother licking her young clean.

I wanted to savour the moments. Mum driving us to ice skating. I sat looking at the back of Mums hair, thinking I would take another snapshot memory. She’d coloured her hair dark brown, as usual, but somehow I knew my youthful memories of her brown curls would soon fade to the pale grey of a new era. I wanted to hold the memory of Mum with brown hair, before time marched on.

Those memories are as vivid to me today as if they happened yesterday. Even my thought process’s and reasoning at the time of the snapshot are clear. I am still ‘snap shotting’…but I’m using my smartphone. When the moment is right, my phone is there…recording, capturing the feeling and sentiment of the moment forever.

As if I’m grabbing  delicate bubbles floating through the air and snapping them shut into a perfect, environmentally controlled time capsule. Never to be lost. Or forgotten. Something that can be revisited, if only for that small moment.

Cards, ribbons, dried flowers, answering machine messages… Snippets of pet hair, boyfriends hair, mums hair, friends hair… lie hidden in paper envelopes and heart shaped lockets. Preserving memories, touch, feel, smell, see, hear….don’t leave me….don‘t leave me…stay….in some small way…please stay.                                       

 And now I’m writing….will I ever stop? By writing down memories I’m creating a hard copy – a back up just in case. I’m half way through my life – at least I hope I’m half way. Who knows – I could be at the end. That’s something we’ll never be able to determine – we just wake up each day and assume we have the rest of our lives ahead of us.

The first section of my life is scattered with hundreds of memories. Memories which go well before two and a half years of age. Pre Mum and Dad building their house in Lakeview. Memories which Mum confirmed, before she could no longer. One memory suggests could be a key to unlock the mystery of my battle with claustrophobia.

The hard faced old woman, her dim house, me.. two years old… throwing the coat hanger angrily across the room – her finger pointing threateningly at me…..hearing the door bell and knowing safety had arrived…Mum had returned. But that is a memory for another story, another hard copy. 

The days of growing up in the red brick house ….the details…. are fading. That sense of family and assuming we would always stay the same forever…. 

The hot summer nights,
caravan holidays……..
playing under the house…..
they are a thing of the past. 
Patchy…
fragmented.
The conversations have gone now, the
details……………. faded. Just broken sentences
………..and images
as if looking at a story in a book…typed words with large chunks

……………………………….missing from each sentence.
Hard to put together. As if you had a letter in your hand and you
ripped
it
into

little pieces.

And then you tried to piece it together again. Some words will never be put back perfectly ….the frayed edges stuck together don’t flow freely anymore.

Zig
                  zag
memories…

holes in between.

Patched together to form a vague sense of what we consider our recollections of the past……

4 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge – Memory

  1. When you wrote playing under the house, it triggered my memory of doing that. My brother would play cars and play in the dirt, making roads under the house. We lived in a trailer so we could do that.

    1. Such wonderful memories of playing ‘schools’ with our blackboards. Once I even lit a little fire with an old bent griddle ….pulled some sugar bananas off a tree in the backyard and cooked ’em up!!! My parents would have killed me! Glad I prompted your memory of playing under the house!

  2. Memory is a strange thing, as are memories. Some stay, some go. I have memories that are still very clear in so many details, and others that I lose almost instantly. Dementia and Altzeimer’s aside – and I’m sorry about your mum’s illness – losing some memories is a natural symptom of getting older, particularly for women around the time of the menopause and after.

    Your memory of your mother brushing your hair broght back my memories of me brushing my mother’s hair – it helped her relax and she loved it. And I can still hear the sound of the brush, but to me it was like listening to the sea. 🙂

    1. That’s a beautiful memory…that whooshing sound of the sea. Your memory took me back to the days when I went to stay at my Nanna and Poppas house which was on top of a cliff overlooking a beautiful beach and right out to sea. At night I climbed up into a very high bed and listened to the ocean….so relaxing.

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