So I read a book recently which talked about the concept of remembering what we can deal with and forgetting what we can’t. I wish that were as true as it sounds but there are some bad things I wish I could forget but don’t. (And I suspect you all have that same problem as well). But it’s the randomness of remembering the kindnesses and happy moments and uplifting experiences that manifest themselves when you least expect it and hopefully propels you to choose to remember the happiness.
I remember a time when I was still married and being yelled at by my ex over something so trivial (but fueled by alcohol consumption on his end into something major) on a Saturday night. My great kid, just a young boy at the time, got between us and told him to stop yelling at his mommy like that. It shut my ex up (temporarily at least) and made my heart both burst with pride at how protective he was of me and break at the same time at the horrible behavior he had to witness as such a young age. I choose to cherish the instinctive protectiveness and love he had for me.
I remember a time when I had made the decision to end my marriage and had to go to my parents and tell them. I was sick inside at having to share that with them although, truth be told, they knew it was coming. My parents could not have been more supportive and offered to do anything and everything they could because they wanted my great kid and me to be happy and safe and able to look forward. (Although my father’s suggestion of the 4 of us plus a dog and a cat all living together in their one-bedroom appointment was a bit of a reach but he was one who focused on solutions, rather than problems). It was a day that I anticipated being painful but that does a disservice to my parents who I knew – in my heart of hearts – would always support me. I choose to remember how they lifted me up and empowered me with their words and hugs and prayers.
I remember a time when someone I loved dearly and trusted even more spent a morning speaking to my great kid when he was broken and brokenhearted over something his father had done. (And my ex is no better a father than he was a husband or friend). I absented myself from that conversation because I loved my son enough to know I was not what he needed at that point. And that talk helped and even when the person who spoke to my son ultimately disappeared from our lives and left a world of problems in his wake, I was grateful for those times when he had stepped in and cheered my great kid up or offered advice or encouraged him to try new challenges. I choose to hold on to the good and kind things he did for my boy.
I remember a time, the last Saturday my Dad was alive, and I was in the lobby of the hospital frantically trying to find a flight my sister could get on that day to fly home to be with him. The frustration of that and the overwhelming sadness of knowing that no matter what we did, my Dad was not going to make it knocked me to my knees. And my cousin – my second mother – Cooky walked in, looked at my face and came up and hugged me and let me sob on her shoulders until there was no more crying left in me and I could get my resolve back and do what I needed to do, no matter how sad I was. I choose to remember that she empowered me, anchored me and comforted me that cold March day in St. Peter’s Hospital.
I remember the day recently when I had to take my beloved puppy to the vet to end his suffering. The heartbreak of having to make this decision, the pain of having to tell my great kid that he would not see his dog again, the weight on my heart of having to end my dog’s life to spare his suffering was crushing. And during those last minutes when he was slipping away and I was holding him and talking to him and crying, the vet tech reached over to me and held my hand through the whole process. I didn’t know how badly I needed that until it happened. And although the whole day was heartbreaking, I choose to remember the kindness and compassion of my vet and her assistant to help my puppy go over the Rainbow Bridge and to comfort me and my broken heart.
I could go on and on with instances like these because they are moments that have made an indelible imprint on my memory and my heart. When it’s a choice between remembering painful times, moments of betrayal or doubt or fear or sadness, or remembering that perfect gesture, word, deed, thought, I will also choose to remember the good with the knowledge that God put that person in our lives at that moment for a reason. We all have a choice. Choose the good.