Why Are Childhood Memories Important?

memoriesWhy are childhood memories important?   Why are all our memories so important that we grieve if we cannot remember certain things as we age?  Our memories are our treasure — our gift to the next generation.

My dear friend, Holley, wrote recently on her blog that she is worried about her parents, particularly her father’s upcoming surgery. And when I read her post, my heart grieved with her. I so well remember that dread, that fear, that “what happens to me without my parents?” And whether you admit it or not, no matter how old you are, you still feel that way until they are gone.

I wondered if our children worry about us. We have a son and daughter. Both are happily married and all four of our “kids” do take care of us. I smiled to myself when we came home from dancing last week and Kathy and Adam walked us into the house when they brought us home. It’s really really wonderful to feel loved!

But…what would I tell them if they were concerned about our deaths?

I would first quote my own father, who constantly reminded us that death is a natural part of life and that life is for the living. He also used to say “I just want to live until I die.” In those days, I thought that was a funny thing to say, but from this perspective, I understand just what he meant. I want to live as long as I can live — really live and enjoy my life!

Why Are Childhood Memories Important?  Loss of Memory is Heartbreaking

Our mother had Alzheimer’s Disease from the age of 57. It was an 11 year nightmare watching this happy, loving wife and mother disappear before our eyes.  I treasure memories of dancing with Mama in the hallway before walking to school, or laughing over a joke around the kitchen table, or walking in the house smelling hot chocolate pound cake in the oven.  I have told those stories to the grandchildren over and over.  Mama’s memory lives in them now.

Already I have been able to be with my children longer than mama was with us — in a real way anyway. I feel blessed with those extra years — like I got a bonus!  I am busily writing down as many of my childhood memories as I can — for the children and the grandchildren.  How I wish I had a book of my mother’s memories of her childhood.

When I die, I hope my children will be glad I was around as long as I was — however long that turns out to be — and that they will enjoy happy memories of fun times together.

We are preparing for our family reunion (on my father’s side of the family). Part of this preparation is writing our memories of those original brothers and sisters we call Minnie’s Kids – my dad was one of those! 🙂 I am compiling the memories as folks email them to me. This week we are focusing on the house on Shaw Street where our Aunts Ruby and Lillie lived. Over and over again, I have read — “they made me feel special.” and “I always felt loved in that house.”

You must realize that we are seniors (the age of your parents, Holley) writing our memories of a generation that is past — and yet, when we pause to reflect, we remember feeling loved and special as little children.

And so, Holley, that is the lesson of all of this circle of life talk. We live, we love, we die. And the piece of us that lives on and on in the hearts of those we love is that very love we have poured into them so gently, so carefully, for all of our lives.  Creating memories.

I hope and pray that someday in the future my grandchildren will write happy memories of the love they found in our home. Is there anything that matters any more than that? I think not.

So, as my sister Betty would say, Enjoy the moments! Every moment of every day. Fill your time with your parents with happy loving conversations and laughter and enjoy them as long as you have them with you. And when the time comes that they are gone from this earth plane, replay those memories and bathe yourself in that precious love any time you want to! That is exactly what they would want you to do!

Facing the Final Mystery: A Guide to Discussing End-of-Life Issues, Second EditionThe Good Funeral: Death, Grief, and the Community of CareThe American Way of Death RevisitedDo Funerals Matter?: The Purposes and Practices of Death Rituals in Global Perspective

About jta

South Carolina grandmother who loves to write, dance, and visit with friends and family.
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14 Responses to Why Are Childhood Memories Important?

  1. sylvestermouse says:

    Beautifully written Joan! Thank you for sharing your experiences and your wisdom.
    .-= sylvestermouse´s last blog ..John Sitton commented on the blog post Do We Need A Beach Bookstore? =-.

  2. MiMi says:

    Beautiful, Joan. Simply beautiful.
    .-= MiMi´s last blog ..Repairing Books =-.

  3. Joan Adams says:

    I am humbled that you all found this helpful. Honestly I am. and sending hugs of love to all of you!

    PS – Holley, I don’t think our kids could keep us in our room if they wanted to! lol lol

  4. bevspaper says:

    Joan this is beautiful! We certainly miss our parents when they aren’t physically here with us anymore but the memories never leave us. Enjoy every moment that is now so that there are no regrets, no unspoken words of love, no misunderstandings but only loving memories.
    .-= bevspaper´s last blog ..What does the Ant Totem teach us? =-.

  5. Holley says:

    Joan, it is your understanding from both sides that makes this post so powerful. I have read it several times, letting it sink in. I know I will never get over the worry for my parents, but at least I can loosen the grip a little, not that they listen to me anyway. Otherwise they’d be stuck in their room 😉

  6. Holley says:

    And I forgot to say thank you my friend, you have truly helped me 🙂

  7. mshomeec says:

    Joan, you have captured our feelings so perfectly! I have already shared and know your written gift will be meaningful to many. Love and SW!

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  9. Cynthia Arre says:

    I have been feeling the same way about my parents Joan, and you have perfectly articulated on here what has been going through my mind all these months. Thank you for this beautiful, soul-reaching post.
    .-= Cynthia Arre´s last blog ..The Art of Vintage Travel =-.

  10. Richard says:

    Quite possibly one of the best posts I’ve read in some time. Thank you, Joan.
    .-= Richard´s last blog ..British Invasion: Sandie Shaw =-.

  11. Kim says:

    Such a beautifully wise post, Joan. Your caring for Holley is wonderful. My father-in-law recently passed away at the age of 91 and it was still so painful for my husband because he was such a good man and Dad. His love and values will live on, though, through his children and grandchildren.

  12. marge says:

    Joan, this was great. I loved it.

  13. I and certainly relate to this, except I have no children or grandchildren to pass my memories to. If I did, I’d do exactly what you are doing.

  14. karen says:

    Joan… thank you… memories are important! I have been encouraging my parents and older friends to write them down, record them, make notes, anything so they won’t be lost forever. My kids are amazed when they hear stories about what their grandparents went through. They may not act like they are listening, but they really are.

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