Anyone who uses Facebook has the option to look back on events that happened to them on that day over the years. These memories can be so fun to look back on, seeing vacation photos, family milestones and much more. (Then there are the 2020 memories showing up, with predictions of murder hornets and other lunacy that I’m seeing lately that should be interesting years down the road.) However, for those who have shared posts about loss and other tragedies, these memories can bring back recollections that we might not be ready to revisit.
Today, I saw the memory that my father’s cancer had returned. I noticed the date and realized that it would be only a little over a month until I would say goodbye to him forever. I was still reeling over the death of my mother from cancer, the sudden loss of my husband from a single car crash just months before, and now my father’s cancer was back, after a celebration of remission and renewed hope that he would be with us for years to come. It wasn’t to be. It is entirely possible to delete or alter these memories so that they don’t reappear, but I don’t think removing those posts will remove the recollection and remembrance we experience.
In order to process these memories, I tend to try my hardest to recall the positivity that somehow shone through during those last weeks. It was during that time that I sought out and found a way to purchase my parent’s home and split those proceeds with my only sibling, rather than see the contents scattered to the four winds and the home sold to strangers. I have been asked over the years why I didn’t just take the proceeds and buy a home elsewhere, as it would have been a substantial sum at the time. While I recall great joy and peace at the moment my father placed his hand on my knee, the day before he died, and said, “This is your home now”, it was not the only reason I pursued this course. He left this world knowing that his grandchildren and I would be safe and happy here, building upon the memories we had made here over many years. The home is more than just that; it is a place of joy and remembrance.
Whenever I feel down about the misery I’ve experienced in my life from events, horrible people who have passed through and left me exhausted, and the challenges of being a single, widowed mom of two children living with Autism, I often try to appreciate all that had to happen to bring me to this moment, sitting inside my parent’s former home, that I now own, and recognizing the positive aspect of it all. While the house is getting older now and in need of repair, its bones are intact, its memories still there. There are times when I am sitting upstairs having dinner with my children that I can see my parents sitting on the couch, my mom reading to my youngest and my father playing Trouble with my son. Their abject joy in interacting with their grandchildren was so clear to anyone paying attention.
No one said that life would be easy, but no one said that it had to be all bad. I’ve made some extremely poor decisions in my life, and chosen the easy way out from time to time, but in the end, I will remember that the memories that I make aren’t erasable. Sure, I can remove the names and tags of those in my feed I am definitely trying to erase from my life, but I can’t completely forget them. The goal is to realize that what happened cannot be changed, but built upon better and stronger, for my sake and the sake of my children. In the meantime, I will revel in the gratitude I have for the opportunity to raise my children in my parent’s home, knowing that perhaps, they are somewhere looking down and happy that I made that choice.