Do memories linger in the mind or in the heart?
The first memory that I associate with my depression is from the night my father suffered a heart attack.
My parents were out to a dance, which they attended often. They returned home around 1 am. My mother called me about a half hour later, saying that Dad wasn’t well and that she had called an ambulance. I met them at the City Hospital. I was there when the ambulance arrived. Dad was quickly rushed into the ER, Mom and I followed. He was taken behind curtains while doctors saw to him. Then I recognized the monitor’s sound. He had flat lined. I will always remember that sound, as Mom and I held each other. Dad would survive that night but pass 6 months later. He was 59, I was 31.
My memories are usually quite vivid. I tend to be able to “see” them as a photograph, a sound, or a video. Having such a memory is wonderful for those moments that are special or important. But it can be unsettling, when I remember the “unpleasantries” of my life.
I have fond and happy memories of my childhood, and teenage years. My father and I flying to Montreal to see the Montreal Expos play baseball. Back in the Rusty Staub days. Family vacations. Our yearly trek to the Nova Scotia Provincial Agricultural and Horse Exhibition, which denoted the end of summer. But, of course, I had teen-aged angst. I was a nerd back when it wasn’t so cool!
The worst memories that occurred to me following my father’s death surprised me.
My family and I always were “prepared”, as well as we could be, for the special days, such as his birthday ( which was also my parents’ anniversary date ), or Christmas, which he loved. I knew those days would come and I did all I could to handle them.
But the surprising memories occurred completely unexpectedly. I would be in court, delivering closing arguments at the end of a trial, when I would think of my father. His “appearance” would floor me, pure emotion about to surface. I would pause, take a drink of water, try to collect myself and continue.
Other times, I would be driving, and have a memory of my father. I would have to stop, and get off the road, and try to regain some composure. These out of the blue memories, without warning or notice would simply overwhelm me. Emotions were raw.
Back then, unlike now, I wasn’t one to share much emotion. I would take a deep breath, or several, and continue with my work, which was my focus. I found that I could control my practice with my colleagues and clients. My personal life was lacking, and then non-existent. My depression was settling deeply into my mind.
For years, while recovering, my life was good, even wonderful, if only for brief moments. My memories from that period involve my family and times of achievement by me. Leaving the house to go for groceries was recognized as a huge step by me. I can “see” myself going to a local restaurant, which I simply was unable to enter. The depression and anxiety too great to overcome, at that time. I would sit in my vehicle in the back parking lot, waiting for the food. Six months later, I entered, ordered lunch, and ate!
My mother was correct. During the dark days of depression, she always told me to have hope and that my life would get better. I didn’t believe in myself, but I believed in her.
Recently I see “bright, soft, and even dark colours” in my life. I rather like it. With it, comes new memories
Enter my “special one”. She chuckled when she read my last blog and seen that I had called her such.
My memories of the last 5 months are vivid, beautiful, and awe inspiring. I have “photos” of her in my mind. I could write a series of blogs on those memories.
One was on a road trip during the winter. I came into the hotel room. She was standing at the window, gazing out into the snow storm. I stood and watched her, appreciating every breath she took. A “ Beautiful Vision” as per the Sir Van Morrison song. That “photo” is forever.
Another…our leaving a movie, and again a snow storm. We walked, looking for any restaurant that was still open. We laughed as the snow swirled around us. Both simply enjoying the moment.
When my journey is concluding, hopefully years from now, all I will have will be memories
My memories linger in my mind and my heart.