How Long Does A Memory Last?

Written by: Hannah S.
May 21, 2021

How Long Does A Memory Last?

I was four years old when my father died from colon cancer. That is a difficult age to experience such a life changing event as I can barely remember any of it happening. I often ponder if the things I remember are even my memories at all or if they are simply what my family has told me over the years engrained into my mind. They are little memories. Memories that shouldn’t matter that much but do because they are all I have left. Memories such as sitting in the bed of a truck in a parking lot or singing a song in the car. I try to replay these few memories in my head as often as possible in fear that I may one day forget them. There are so many stories I am told of my dad that I don’t remember which makes it even harder because no matter how bad I want to recall that time, I can’t. I understand why friends and family want to tell me the wonderful memories they have of my father but I don’t think they have ever thought about the toll it takes on me. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing about what a wonderful man my dad was. I just wish I was able to make that claim myself. My mom had even mentioned that maybe it was better I don’t remember some of the bad times. The times when emergency trips had to be taken to hospitals. When feeding tubes were all that my dad could use. Calls from my dad in the hospital telling us about something that my mom knows wasn’t actually there, just a hallucination. I don’t know if that is true or not. Is ignorance truly bliss? I still don’t know the answer to that question. I often think I want to know the truth, no matter how painful it may be. However, who knows how that may have effected the rest of my life in ways that I can’t even comprehend. All I can really remember is just life with my mom and I so I don’t find myself often crying over the loss of my dad, just feelings of great sadness and emptiness. That was, until a few months ago. I was looking though a closest where we keep photos and there were a few blank CDs. I asked my mom about them and she figured they held random photos on them. We decided to pull up the pictures and they turned out to be videos. Immediately I noticed my dad in them. When they played, I could hear his voice. It is such a small thing to hear a voice but that is when I realized I didn’t remember what he sounded like. Tears instantly ran down my cheeks, as they do now while I’m typing this. Even his mannerisms were unfamiliar to me. It made me want to know him so much more but then came the pain of knowing I can’t. Going through that really made me cling onto those I love today. One day, I know many of them won’t be around anymore. I need to appreciate them while I still have the chance. While I can still visit them, go on vacation with them, laugh together, even cry together. Hold onto them long enough just to hear their voice one last time.

Hannah S.

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