Two years ago my grandma passed away from colon cancer. It was an experience I had to have in order to realize what I had, but by then it was too late. She was already gone. As my family and I had been sharing our memories of her, I realized that my memories weren’t the same happy ones as everyone else. Mine were filled with painful images of seeing my grandma always sick. I remember walking into the hospital and having the stingy smell of knowing she wasn’t going to be here much longer. Then after she was released I received a phone call from my mom telling me to go and say my final goodbye. I hadn’t taken the opportunity to get to know her like everyone else had. It struck me hard as I realized how pathetic this was. I had to lose someone I loved, in order to realize how important having memories, and keeping the ones I have is. I didn’t know what I had till it was gone.
Ever since this experience I have made it a point to have a lot of memories. Some of my memories aren’t as good as others. Having my heart broken for the first time, or my very first broken bone. Over time these are things that have become a part of me. Memories that have helped to mold me into what I am now. I often realize at least I have something to remember about my past. As I think of those who aren’t able to remember anything at all, my heart breaks for them.
I don’t have the best memory in the world so when I do have a memory I write it down. Someone once told me, “A memory not written down is one that has been wasted.” Even though I am not very old, I have realized how important this is. Being able to read back on things that I have written down when I was younger, helps me to remember events that have happened. Even watching home videos my parents have taken, and sitting with family and telling stories of what we remember about our childhood. The camping trips we made, my little brother being born, and being left at home with three older brothers to babysit.
Although I have all of these happy memories, there are still the times when I reflect on the painful ones. Without them how would I know what the good memories are? It has helped me to learn not to frequently dwell on the past, but help the past prepare myself for the future. I have found that if I am constantly dwelling on the bad experiences of the past, I tend to lose who I am and where I want to go in life.
Even though I had to lose someone I loved in order to realize how important memories really are, I have finally realized how strong I believe in making and keeping memories.
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