It happens all the time; more often than you think.
Why? Because it’s easier than remembering the heartache, the pain, the disappointment. It’s easier to shift the blame on someone else to justify things that happened in the past that we still don’t understand. Or make us feel embarrassed because we did something dumb that we’re ashamed of.
Sometimes we make memories happier than they actually were because the actual memories are too painful to recount. Or we want others to think our lives were happier than they really were.
Sometimes we make up memories in an attempt to either justify something we did, or should have done, because we think it will make us look better in other people’s eyes. Or to make people think we’ve accomplished more than we have.
Or we make up memories in order to hurt others, to make them look bad, usually because we’ve been hurt so badly by them, we want to hurt them even more than they hurt us.
Sometimes the memories start to blur until we have difficulty discerning what was true and what we made up.
Memories can be that way. And as we get older, it’s worse, because our memories slowly begin to decline over the years. But that’s another story altogether.
I’ll admit that my memories of my earlier years aren’t nearly as vivid as I’d like. And it seems the ones I really remember most clearly are ones associated with unhappy events, such as the days surrounding the death of my father, which memories are far more vivid than my few memories of the good times I had with him. Why? Most likely because I was so young, and at those young ages the traumatic times sometimes take over the happy memories.
If I really stop and think about it, there are lots of memories I can conjour up from the past, but they’re ones I don’t dwell on. Yes, many are happy, like my wedding to Ben, and the joy of finding out we were having a daughter, and the happiness when I gave birth to her, but many others are not.
Like the day I walked into my mother’s room at the rehab center and seeing her body lying there, lifeless, my aunt in a state of shock and crying. I will forever see that picture in my mind’s eye. It’s not something you can forget.
Or the time my husband coded in the ER right before my eyes, as I sat there helpless, watching the staff work their miracles to bring him back. And thankfully they did.
Each and every one of us have such memories. They’re a part of us, and even though they may become distorted over time, we still remember.
Even though we may not want to admit them to others. Because they’re so painful and embarrassing we change them around somewhat to make them less hurtful.
And even while I’m writing this, many of those are coming back to me.
It’s ok, though, because most of us have finally put the hurt behind us and moved on.
And we’ve changed the memories enough so that we can live with them, knowing how far we’ve come, and sensing the good memories that still lie ahead to be made with the people we love.