Let It Go Part 1

There’s a ridiculous scene that I adore in Forget Paris: Debra Winger is driving to the vet a poor pigeon who had become stuck to sticky paper set out to catch a mouse; as she hits a bump in the road, the pigeon flies up and becomes stuck to her head, sticky paper and all. Within a story of the most memorable events of Billy Crystal and Winger’s strange relationship, this one captures the way love and life is more than sweet under the moon memories.

That funny slapstick moment also reminds me that memories are like that sticky paper. Sometimes a memory sticks and won’t let go. That’s a good thing for some memories. The day my daughter was born and the way she turned her head to look at me when I first spoke her name to her, and the day my son slept in my daughter’s arms and everything about her softened are two memories I don’t think I’ll ever want to forget. Then like Winger’s embarrassing, dangerous flapping pigeon, there are those other moments: when I explained to my son that his sister was in a coma, like in the movies and he agreed that she looked like Sleeping Beauty (despite the tubes and machines); his face went tight and he told me that this was different because the person lying there was his sister. How does one let go of that memory? And should I?

A sister in law told me last week that my daughter needs to get past her bad memories. I get what she means. The sentiment echoed a question that my son asked me: “Why bother hanging onto painful memories?” Yet, aren’t some of even the unhappy events in our lives teachable moments that can help us navigate through life? Are we to cling to the happiest moments, as if a raft in the middle of a stormy ocean? Which memories should we release? Can we release them?

What is one memory you would like to let go of?

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2 Responses to Let It Go Part 1

  1. Corazón says:

    You know, this is interesting. My instant reaction is to think that the bad memories serve the purpose of making the good ones all that more valuable. But at the same time, that sounds like some BS.

    Another thought is that if the memory were to be erased, does that mean that how we were changed (as a result of the event) would be erased as well? Will it impact our perspectives? Our strength as individuals?

    I guess rather than erasing them completely, I think maybe a goal could be to come to terms with them… To a somehow acquire the skills and mental tools to be able to recall the memory, yet not have it be so painful and leave me feeling exactly as I did in the moment when I first felt it..?

    Hmmm.

    • Thank you for your response! Yes, our painful experiences contribute to our “strength as individuals.” You mention coming to terms with them. I’m interested in the ways people do that and in the ways telling our stories with someone listening might help us heal.

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