The Immortality of Memory

An Ordinary Day In 2045

I trudge into the little room and stare at the boxes laid out in front of me. Another day of sorting and meticulously arranging the memories that others have forgotten. It’s not the most glamorous job there is, but it has its moments.

It feels like I’ve been working as a Sorter forever, but it’s only been ten years. It’s about the only thing I can do now. My bones tend to creak when there’s any more exertion involved, and I get tired easily. My own memories of life have started to fade in and out, sometimes blending together into vivid tapestries that were never really painted to begin with. So I go through the memories of others, living the lives that they no longer do, sharing in their joys and sorrows.

First up in today’s haul, an old box of toys. Batman action figures. Now that takes me back. I pick up one of the figures and examine it. Was this mine? No. I never had that one. I wonder what did happen to my old Batman collection. It was lost ages ago, and I can’t even remember where it all went. As a younger man, that would have upset me a lot. I’d be devastated about losing a collection I’d spent so much time amassing. It seems so insignificant now, nothing more than a bunch of plastic.

And so it goes with all things in life. Every loss seems catastrophic in the moment, a black hole from which one can never emerge. But as time starts to cover the cracks left behind, it creates some perspective. Losing your lucky keychain or your favorite shirt doesn’t seem quite so important as it did then. It’s not the worst day ever, or the end of the world. You almost feel sorry for your younger self, agonizing over such trivial things But there are some losses that even time can’t take the sting out of.

Losing the people in your life is hard, whether it’s best friends moving away across the world or close relatives dying. It takes away a part of you and leaves a scar that never heals, no matter how much it may fade.

But every loss, no matter how big or small, can help you discover something about yourself. You may find that you’re more resilient than you thought, able to find light amidst the darkness and to find new reasons to smile even as the old ones disappear into nothing. Or you may realize that you’re not as strong as you believed yourself to be, falling apart like a house of cards when you lost a bit of stability.

How you cope with loss can help you see who you really are, both in terms of the relationships that are gone, and the ones that you now have. A whole new world opens up to you. It’s a world that’s more unpredictable than the one you knew, one where the things you hold dearest can be snatched out of your grasp at any time by the chaos that rules the universe. It’s a scary thought, and may lead you to lock yourself up in your mind, throwing away the key. Fear of loss may lead you to hold onto everything with an iron grip, searching for control where you have none. Or you could choose to accept the way of the world and appreciate what there is without worrying about how long it will stay.

It’s not an easy thing to do. To this day, it’s something I’m working on. I think back on the many losses I’ve suffered over the years. They made me feel helpless, like I had no control over my life. But of course, that wasn’t true. I had control over my choices and my decisions. I could live in constant fear of losing, holding onto everyone I loved so tightly that I might just smother them. Or I could focus on making memories, creating moments that would live to be immortal even if the people sharing them didn’t.

And that’s what I find myself surrounded with. Immortality. These boxes, full of objects lost and forgotten, are preserving stories, or parts of them anyway. I put the Batman figure in my bag. My grandson will love it. Who knows what adventures he’ll take it on, what stories he’ll tell with it. One day, this simple toy will be lost again, relegated to the past. He’ll be very upset; it’ll be the end of the world. But his memories of the toy and his adventures with it will never be lost. He will have them forever.

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6 thoughts on “The Immortality of Memory

  1. I know this was fiction but so much of it felt like having a discussion with a friend about loss and about strength and about the importance of things. So often we hold onto the physical things because we hope that this way we can keep the memory alive, without truly knowing that the memory is in our hearts all along.

    Once again, this was a beautiful post. You truly have a knack for these things, if you haven’t been told already! 😛

    Liked by 2 people

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