“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”
I recently saw the new film, “The Great Gatsby” – it’s a breath-taking, jaw-dropping, and thoroughly enchanting representation of the novel. I absolutely loved it and walked out of the theater feeling far more haunted by the idea of Gatsby than I ever had before.
I was caught by the memories, hopes & dreams that Gatsby clings to and works so hard to make come true. I won’t spoil any of this for you in case you haven’t read the book or, like me, couldn’t remember most of it, but I want to talk about this idea of how when memories and dreams from the past are remembered to us, they cease to be things from the past and become instead, part of our present & future.
It seems that in America’s grief culture there is a lot of stigma about talking about the dead. If you make reference to your deceased loved one you’ve probably encountered some people getting uncomfortable or not knowing what to say back to you. Society wants the past left where it is, they want to ignore grief and leave the dead buried.
Dr. Bill Hoy has stressed that talking about those who have died is one of the most healing and appropriate things we can do in recognition of their death and acknowledgement of their life. They were once here and if we don’t talk about them, it can feel like their memory is trying to be erased or forgotten.
My encouragement to you is to not feel guilt about these memories and sharing them with others. Don’t leave your family in the past, bring them out into today, into tomorrow with your love of them, your stories, and the dreams that you shared together.
Sharing these stories doesn’t mean that you’re “stuck in the past” or “not making progress” – these are horrible & callous ways that people who are uncomfortable with grief try to urge others out of their bereavement. Don’t give in to that thinking, but also make sure you’re surrounded by friends & family that can hear your stories and enjoy them. Perhaps a support group is the best place for you to have this freedom. We’ve recently updated our listings of support groups so click here to see what’s available locally.
Remembering is one of the great gifts our minds give us. And yes, while it is important to move in your grief, to not remain stagnant or stuck, it’s our natural function to remember happiness, beauty, love & relationships. Enjoy them, even if they are “behind” you.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
What have been the best ways you’ve found in sharing your memories?
Do you write them down, attend a support group, have coffee with a friend every week?
Share your story . . .