It’s a struggle for memory, a struggle to remember. To put all those fragmented memories together, to remember your scent, your smile, your touch; and how you made me feel. And with every year, those memories—barely present—pale and fade away, yet the pain stays fresh, worsened by the realisation that a tomorrow with you will never come. That those faint memories are all I’ll ever have of you. It shames me, to proclaim to love you still, when I have forgotten how to remember you. But one day, we will be reunited and none of it will matter.
I wrote that last year on Facebook, as a tribute to my mother. I revisit it today, as I think about memory and the role it plays in our lives, how it shapes our being.
Our bodies are sites of resistance, trauma and memory. Memory is an important aspect of our existence. We write histories, good and bad, to remind us of our victories and of the times we fell short; to remind us of past mistakes—of the folly of human endeavour. We keep photographs to remind us of happy times, of events that changed us, of the times we felt fully human. We write poetry and music for the same reason.
Yet memory does more than just remind us of things long past. We remember to re-member, to re-collect, re-constitute. To put together again, those parts of ourselves we have lost to death, betrayal, and the passage of time. To put together the million pieces of shattered mirrors that used to reflect back to us, visions of our full selves. We remember to heal and to rebuild ourselves, to reconstitute our full beings, to be.
But as with anything else, our mortality counts against us. Memory will never complete its project of making us whole again. We’re living on borrowed time. And with every passing minute, we struggle to remember, to re-member. It is a struggle for completion, one that we cannot lose. So today I say, remember against all odds. Fight the urge to forget. Remember that smile, that touch, that scent, that voice. Never ever forget. It’s all you have and it’s all you’ll ever need to feel whole again. Re-member yourself. ✊