#memory

MEMORIES OF OUR SMILES

 

 

May you wake up every morning with a smile that does not fade...

as you remember yesterday 

and all the wonderful memories you made.

 

And today

 may you treasure every moment…

every person…

every place..

for you never know which one, 

tomorrow, 

will put a smile on you face.

 

 

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WHEN WHITMAN WAS ALIVE

 

 

I have the fondest memory…plucked from my memory archive…of our morning walks together…when our golden, Whitman, was alive.

 

I loved how, though we walked together every day, each walk would seem brand new…and how we each approached our walk from a different point of view.

 

My eyes were drawn to the sky and the wonders that up there abound…Whitman’s eyes and concentration were riveted to the ground.

 

I loved to discover the different aromas that wafted on the breeze…Whitman was content with sniffing grass…and bushes…and trees.

 

I was happy listening to the wind and whatever birdsongs would catch my ear…but when Whitman lifted his head and smiled…I knew he was listening to sounds I could not hear.

 

We were never in a hurry…there was no need for speed…sometimes we’d walk where I wanted to walk…other times Whitman took the lead.

 

It’s obvious the view I had on two legs was different that what Whitman saw on four…still…I never could determine…which one of us enjoyed it more.

 

I still take those morning walks…and though it’s been years since Whitman died…there is still many a morning I can feel him by my side.

 

Sometimes I feel him as I begin to walk…other times along the way he will arrive…and then the two of us will walk together…

just like when Whitman was alive.

 
 
 
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ALL THE THINGS I HAVE FORGOTTEN

 

 

Sometimes I have to wonder if my Creator wasn’t a little misbegotten…when I see, as I’ve grown older, all the things I have forgotten.

 

My doctor says not to be concerned…not to worry, not to fret…that as I grow a little older it is normal to forget.

 

And so I want to ask my doctor if in any textbook that he’s read…is it normal for me to forget where my glasses are…when they’re perched upon my head?

 

I want to ask him if when he was in school if any question on any exam… pertained to me forgetting names…what day it is…or even how old I am?

 

Is it normal for me to forget how I got these bruises…or why my arm is so sore?  Is it normal to forget I read this book…or I’ve seen this movie once before?

 

Is it normal…or do I have a reason for a little gloom and doom…for me to suddenly forget why I’ve walked into a room?

 

I would really like to talk with my doctor about this…to take his medical books to task…but by the time I’m sitting in his waiting room…I’ve forgotten what questions I wanted to ask.

 

There is an upside to my forgetting, however, a different point of view…because the more that I forget…the more forgotten things seem brand new.

 

Every time I read a book, watch a movie or walk into a room…my heart rate begins to rise…because of all the things I have forgotten…everything is a surprise.

 

There is a downside for you the reader, however…since there's a possibility I won’t remember writing these words…won’t remember the how…or why…or when

There’s a good chance in the future…

you'll be seeing this poem again.

 

 

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REMEMBERING WHO I AM

He began to write before his diagnosis…sometimes he wrote…sometimes he drew.

He didn’t need a doctor to tell him…something he already knew.

 

He would close his eyes for a moment and search back in his mind…then write a story or draw a picture of any memory he might find.

 

His children sat him down one day and said they had something they wanted to discuss… “These memories you’re writing down,” they asked, “all these books…are you writing them for us?”

 

“Because we don’t need all these books to remember the wonderful life we’ve had…we don’t need these books to remember you…as a kind and gentle dad.”

 

“No children.” Their father smiled, “the reason I am writing…the reason my bookshelves are so crammed…is to help me remember, when I begin to forget, the person who I am.”

 

This disease will be taking away who I am…that’s what dementia does…so I’m hoping I can use these books…to help me remember who I was.”

 

I know who I was and I know who I am right now…that’s easy for me to see…but it’s scary because when my memory is gone…I’m not sure who I will be.”

 

“That’s why I’ve written down some memories…and other memories I drew…so in the midst of the darkness that is coming…some light will come shining through.”

 

“It’s funny I started writing these as a present to myself for when my mind’s adrift…but being able to write down a lifetime of memories has turned out to be a gift.”

 

And Dad was right there came a time when his whole life, to him, became a blur…when even during our visits…he didn’t remember who we were.

 

So we’d take out his books of memories…his writings and the pictures that he drew…with the hope that somewhere in his darkness…some light would come shining through.

 

And as we sat and read him his memories…not very often but once in a while

a light would find its way to Dad…and for a moment…he would smile.

 
 
 
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WHEN I LEARNED TO RIDE

I was returning a bike to it’s home this morning…left out by a child who, no doubt, was remiss and as I pushed it along the sidewalk I began to reminisce.

 

Back to when I was a child…remembering what it was like…the day I learned to balance…the day I learned to ride a bike.

 

I remember the innocence…the freedom…riding without a care…I remember the smile on my face …I remember the wind blowing in my hair.

 

I’d ride for hours with my friends…friends with whom I’d grown…for once you hopped on your bike in our neighborhood…you never rode alone.

 

Our bikes took us on adventures that strengthened our hearts and soothed our souls.  We’d only stop to climb a tree…skip some stones…or dive into the swimming hole…

 

We loved to ride together through the ditches during a rain..

and if we fell and skinned our knees…we just ignored the pain. 

 

We learned to ride with no hands…down our street and all around…

We’d attach baseball cards to our spokes just to listen to the sound.

 

For when we heard those baseball cards…on whatever bicycle we were striding…no longer were they bikes…but motorcycles we were riding.

 

On our bikes is where we learned to be independent…it’s where we learned to pretend…on our bikes is where we learned what it means to be a friend.

 

At the doorstep of the house I set the bike down…gently on its side…and I thought how different the world is now than it was when I first learned to ride.

 

I’m not sure it was true…but when I visit those memories again and again and again…wasn’t the world a little kinder, a little gentler, a little more innocent back then?

 

Perhaps that’s why as I grow older I find it difficult to comprehend…how, though many people still remember how to ride a bike.…they’ve forgotten how to be friends..

 

How somewhere in the midst of living…they’ve forgotten how to be kind…

How without the  even realizing it…they’ve left their innocence behind…

 

Which makes me wish more people would remember exactly what it was like…

The day we found our balance…the day we learned to ride a bike.

 
 
 
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IMAGINATION AND MEMORY

I never know what will happen…what memories I’ll see

but I love when my imagination merges with my memory.

 

My memory picks a person…sometimes quite randomly

and my imagination sets that person…right in front of me.

 

It happened at the end of a morning walk 

in the shadow of our oak tree

When I looked up…Deborah’s mom…was smiling next to me.

 

And it was just as I remember…though she left us long ago

the way her smile lit up her face and set her eyes aglow.

 

I was unable to say a word…I was captivated…enthralled.

She did not speak either…but her smile said it all.

 

It reminded me how she loved us…with a love gentle and kind

and when I found my voice I thanked her for the memories she left behind.

 

I told her not to worry…standing in the shade of that old tree

for I am taking care of your daughter

and she’s taking care of me.

 

Silently she nodded her head…as the night surrendered to the dawn

We exchanged another smile….and in an instant…she was gone.

 

As I say…imagination is a wonderful thing

when it merges with a memory…

You never know what might happen…

 

You never know who you might see.


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AFTER THE FAMILY VISITS

Our family visited but they’re gone now…the house is empty

but it’s definitely not bare

for the memories they left behind are echoing everywhere.

 

If I listen closely…I hear them

their echoes and so much more

as they blend with all the echoes they’ve left behind before… 

 

I hear children chasing each other around the house…

I see them running fast…and slow

the way they did this visit…and so many visits ago.

 

I see them playing football outside…

they’ve all gotten so much taller

and I see them playing years ago…

when they were all much smaller.

 

I see one grandchild up in our climbing tree…

I see Nana cautioning him

and I see his mother when she was small 

sitting next to him on that same limb.

 

Echoes of so many funny jokes…

that my family said were lame

but on the echoes of their faces 

I see laughter just the same.

 

I see so many memories bouncing around…

an abundantly joyous amount…

so many echoes from so many years 

that I long ago lost count.

 

I love how the echoes of today…

the latest ones they cast

so easily blend with yesterdays…

and all the echoes of the past…

 

Which is why I walk around our empty house with a smile

as from room to room I roam

surrounded by all the echoes 

 

that make this house our home.


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GRANDMA'S COAT

It’s old and a little tattered…the coat her grandma wore.

It doesn’t fit her all that good…it’s not in style anymore

 

It’s always by our front door…on the rack…just hanging there

She puts it on every now and then when she feels a chill is in the air.

 

I used to bring home new ones…I don’t do that anymore…

because she prefers to wear that old coat…the one her grandma wore.

 

Her grandma raised her after her parents died

It was in her grandma’s care she grew

She was too young to remember…

Grandma is the only mom she ever knew.

 

When she was sad or lonely or things weren’t going right

She would sit upon her grandma’s lap and grandma’s arms would hug her tight.

 

Through all the ills of growing up…through all the heartaches and thunderstorms

It was there in her grandma’s arms where she felt safe and warm.

 

When her Grandma passed away she left her this old coat

and there, on the inside pocket, she left a little note.

 

‘How many times over the years have I hugged you’…it read

‘I’ll never know the exact amount

because when it comes to hugging you

I long ago lost count.’

 

‘We all must die eventually for that is the circle of life.

This means I won’t be there to hug you

In times of happiness or strife.’

 

Which is why I’m leaving you my old coat…it’s the only one I’ve ever worn

It’s the one I was wearing when I first held you…the day that you were born.

 

Put it on when you are happy, when you’re excited or feeling blue

Put it on and know right then…I am hugging you.

 

Perhaps that’s why when she wears it…she also wears a smile…

 

and why that old coat her grandma wore…will never go out of style.


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ONE MEMORY AT A TIME

We pass them every morning as the day’s about to break

an old man and a young girl…seated by the lake.

 

They are sharing a moment together…a moment of solitude

and as we near them we walk softly…not wanting to intrude.

 

The other morning when he heard us coming…he smiled and turned his head

He told us his name was Charlie… “and this is Tess.” he said.

 

The next day he greeted us by name…and we were surprised we must admit

when he smiled looking out at the water….and invited us to sit.

 

They had no fishing poles, no equipment…so finally I said, “Hey…

Charlie, why do you and Tess sit by the water ever day?”

 

“At the beginning of this summer,” he said, “my wife,Tess’s grandma, passed way.

so Tess and I come to the lake to remember her each day.”

 

“I’ve spent my lifetime loving Tess’s Grandma

but in some ways Tess just met her…

I want her to know the kind of person her Grandma was

and I don’t want either of us to forget her.”

 

“We come here every morning.” Tess said.

as the the bells on the church began to chime.

“Grandpa says the best way to remember Grandma…

is one memory at a time.”

 

We listened to a few stories…

about how Grandma loved to bake,

how she loved to sing although a little off-key, 

and how she loved this lake.

 

Then we took our leave…as we were very much aware

we had infringed enough on these two…

this was their time to share.

 

And now we wave when we pass each morning…

as around this lake we climb…

knowing a Grandpa is sharing a Grandma with his granddaughter… 

 

one memory at a time.



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