At the end of each year, I believe almost everyone thinks about the events, relationships, and milestones that defined the “old” year. As we weigh the scales of good and bad, memories will shift the weights from one side to the other.
Those who suffered catastrophic events may not shift all the weights to the bad side. As you see people standing in the rubble of their homes, some will say, “Our family is alive,” and immediately recognize the importance of life over possessions.
When you get to be my age, much of life is a blur. Years pass without making any special blips on our radar. Other years are marred by death or other disaster. Some years are memorable because of births, marriages, reunions, vacations, and celebrations.
In our morning conversation, Mom and I were talking about how unreliable memories are. Two people can remember the same event with different outcomes. In our memories, we can confuse people, dates, times, place, or worse yet, reality.
I know that I have glitches in my memories. When I try to remember something that happened five decades ago, I will most likely be fuzzy about the details.
Recently, I had a friend who was hurt because someone relayed a “story” about her that never happened. Why would a person do that? In fact, why relate a hurtful story even if it is the truth, much less a false memory or a mixed up memory?
When Jim was in the nursing home, I turned on a recorder and told what had happened that night. I began each day’s tape with the date and time. When I transcribed the tapes, I could tell by my tone of voice if it had been a good day or a bad day.
As I transcribed the tapes, it seemed like a fictional story. I could not consciously recall most of the individual days or events. I used the tapes as a basis for the unfinished memoir that I wrote about Jim. It has been a monumental task and each New Year I give myself the annual pep talk, This is the year I finish the book.
The problem with finishing Indelible isn’t a lack of material…it is too much material. I also want to scrub anything that would cause anyone unnecessary hurt and want to change names to protect the privacy of the residents and staff.
At times, I’m blunt on the tapes. I was Jim’s “voice” and my number one job as a caregiver was to make sure he had the best care possible. I respected the hard job that staff had, and many of them became my friends and I trusted them. Others came and went, often leaving chaos and aggravation behind them.
Yes, some memories stand out, but others don’t. We need to sort through them to separate truth from fiction.
As for 2022, the jury is still out. It’s been a mixture of good and bad. I certainly like to think that the good outweighed the bad. Regardless of the kind of year 2022 was, it is over. Tomorrow begins 2023.
We’ll know more about the New Year as it unfolds. The year 2023 is the Chinese year of the Water Rabbit and is predicted to be a year of hope. No matter how you feel about China and the Chinese, the entire world could use a year of hope, health, happiness, and peace.
Copyright © December 2022 by L.S. Fisher