When significant people in our lives pass away, we think about them a lot. We think about what they were like, and why they were important to us; sometimes we think about why or how they were taken away from us; but mostly we think about the memories we shared with that person. These memories are what keep people alive in our hearts forever.
A week after my little brother was born, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time I was seven years old and was told that my mother had about a year of her life left to live. Being so young I could not quite understand this, so I am very lucky that I was granted an extra three years to spend with her. Now, seven years after her death, I am left with memories of my mommy.
I remember looking with my mom at pictures from her youth and mistaking them for myself. I remember the time she defended me when my cousins tried to steal my nano pet. I remember the fight I put up to wear my hair a certain way in our family picture. I also remember losing that fight. I remember the millions of times my mom told me “kill her with kindness” when I complained about my enemy at school.
A few weeks ago I was at a distant cousins bar mitzvah party and I was sitting at a table with my mom’s two older brothers, my cousins, my dad, my mom’s mom (my Bubbe) and my mom’s dad (my Zayde). We sat at the same table for over an hour, secluded from the rest of the party, as we heard the stories from my uncles we heard millions of times before about how they used to torture my mom when she was little. Being the soccer stars they both were, they would tie her to the stairs and use her as a goalie to practice on. When they babysat her, they would ask her to get them cookies and then take pictures of her opening the cookie jar, stealing what my Bubbe had forbidden her from having.
My family and I share our memories of my mom with each other in order to keep her love alive. We keep pictures everywhere so she can always be seen. We sit together on my dad’s huge bed and watch home videos, my dad always behind the camera recording our lives with my mommy. The memories we share make my mom real to my little brother and sister who can barely remember her.
Memories are what keep people alive even after they are gone. My memories of my mom keep her in my heart, where she promised me she would always stay. Although her life was ended too early, the ten years that I spent with her will stay with me forever.
I believe in the good times, the smiles, the love, and the laughter. I believe in the extraordinary power of everlasting memories.
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