Of Memories Cut from the Past

Of Memories Cut from the Past

I find myself in bed and it’s still light outside.  Granted, it is mid-June and the sun refuses to set at a decent hour.  But the hour is still in single digits and I realize I’m lonely tonight.

The house is empty and large.  My darling husband is away at a conference and I always feel his absence heavily.  We’ve been accused in fun of having a fictitious marriage but I assure you it is real—we are the best of friends and we thrive in this stability.

The house is silent too.  We are a quiet pair but lately our home was filled with music when our niece came to visit.  She brought her guitar and strummed for us, singing songs we didn’t know and when we asked whose song it was, it was her own, original, one of hundreds she has written and we were honoured she sang them for us.

While she was here I took out old pictures.  Photos I had taken on 35mm film.  Glossy shots of wide blue-eyed childhood wonder.  Matte finished moments of first dates, first steps, first marriages.  She said, “We should organize these,” and as I stirred a simmering pot on the stove, she sang and sorted and sorted and sang until there were neat piles of pictures in themes I would never have thought of on my own.

And we talked.  We remembered.  We exchanged theories.  We philosophized about family and how they should talk to each other and how they often don’t.  We talked about the brain and why it does the things it does and how it gets shaped by the heart as well as the genes. We talked about what is broken and what can be fixed.

Then she said, “We should make a scrapbook,” and we bought crafting items we would never have bought on our own because my craft is words and hers is music.  Together we made pages that brought out the best in the memories we had of the past 22 years.  My darling husband (her darling uncle) patiently ate supper at the counter instead of at the table because it was covered in moments we had cut out of the past.  He didn’t complain about the week-long mess and the space we had co-opted.  He knew it was more than glue and glitter tape.  Just like he knew her singing was more than singing.

We didn’t finish the scrapbook by any means.  And I have put it aside until the moment is right or we are together again, or both.

Once not long ago, my niece paid me a compliment I have carried around in my heart and pulled forward to warm me in cold lonely moments.

She said that during a confusing time in her life, I made her feel “like a person”.

I can’t think of a greater compliment than validating someone else’s humanity, than providing stability in confusion.  She articulated something I didn’t even realize I was trying to do in those moments cut out of the past.

I miss her company tonight.  And I miss the guy who provides my stability.

The aloneness and the silence afforded freeness of thought, though.  These memories we resurrected through pictures have been heavy and I don’t have the gift of strumming them through guitar strings.  I needed to write them down and I needed to draw on the warmth of the greatest compliment of my life.





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12 Replies to “Of Memories Cut from the Past”

  1. Every post I read of yours I say to myself, “this is my favourite”…this time I decided I should tell you & not just myself

  2. That niece of yours is pretty special. She sent me a link to this and it has made my heart happy to read your words. Sounds like her visit came at just the right time. And it’s true, everyone does need an Aunt like you!

    1. Thanks for following the link and finding me. I’m in total agreement with your sentiments about my niece and humbled by those about her aunt. I hope you check in frequently and continue as a reader!

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