Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Quiet Erosion of Memory

I am treating myself to a Me-Day this Saturday by attending an all-day scrapbook gathering. 12 hours in a room full of fellow scrappers – creating, communing, and sharing inspiration while hopefully catching up on overdue preservation of family history. I’ve been spending the evenings this week organizing and preparing the things for the project I’ll be taking with me. I’m roughly three years behind on my projects, so I have a wide variety of options for what I could take, but have decided to continue on with the vacation book I started at – and haven’t touched since – the last scrap-a-thon I attended in May.

Vacation books are my favorite. Preserving a vacation in this medium lends so well to capturing the atmosphere and the feeling of being carefree, without schedule, and bursting with wonder and discovery. Photos, small souvenirs, ephemera, paper and embellishments of riotous color and loads journaling can recapture memories that may otherwise quietly slip away from recollection just as the bold brushstrokes of sunset melt into the dusk. In less time-constrained days, I would plant myself amongst my scrapping wares as soon as the photos came back from developing, and would compose our visual treasures into an elaborate oversized book. Feverishly. Joyously. Before the tiny details faded.

Nearly three years have already skittered away since we took the cruise for which I am currently creating a book. I came home from this trip pregnant, which explains a lot about the delay. But as I sorted the crisp, bright fragments by island and event, I realized how much I’d already begun to forget. Much was brought back simply by seeing the photos once more. The intensity of the rainbow off our balcony, arching gracefully over the St. Thomas Harbor. The vibrant, eye-piercing teal of the St. Maarten water. The lush, succulent jungle of Barbados that you can nearly feel soaking in beneath your skin. The taste of raw sugarcane, coconut milk, and pineapple straight from the plant. Photos are powerful tools of recollection.

Sadly, though, other things have already slipped away. I can’t remember the name of the guide whom with we spent our entire day on St. Lucia. While the photo itself is still charming, I don’t recall why the cluster of chickens congregating beneath the lemon grass was so funny to us. The significance of many of the sites and landmarks has become blurry now. I’ve forgotten the names of half the staff who took care of us on the boat – young men and women who seemed almost like family by the time we left.

Ultimately, does it matter? No, I suppose not. I have more than a bounty of captured memories from our trip with which to work. But it’s the little details that make life sweet – it’s a shame to lose any of them.

On a revisited topic, I talked to my mom yesterday and asked her about LeeAnne’s kids. My mom is a Sunday School teacher, and the boys have been filtering through her class over the past few years since it all happened. They are still living with LeeAnne’s parents – after the murder-suicide, there was a threat from his parents of a custody battle. Apparently that had somehow been resolved and settled. The boys are doing all right, all things considered. The youngest has been blessed with the forgetfulness of a small child, and doesn’t seem to recall much – growing up relatively undisturbed and unaffected by the tragic loss of his parents. The middle boy likewise seems to have decently adjusted. The oldest remembers. He is sometimes all right. Other times, disturbed and haunted by what had transpired between the two most important people in his young life. Only time will reveal the consequences of the ripples.

Sometimes, to forget is a blessing.

5 comments:

martie said...

Ahh Clew, we do get busy and tend to forget some of the small details but the pics should help revive them for you and if you don't remember all of them it probably won't matter. Although knowing you, I know that it will bother you to not remember ALL the details!

Have a great time scrapping Sat.

Give Incrediboy a kiss and pat MBD on the head for me!

McSwain said...

The scrapping day sounds lovely... I have boxes and boxes of pics waiting for me to have time. I think I'll have to MAKE time.

Those poor kids--I really just can't imagine. The human spirit is an amazing thing, when you think of the sadness many suffer through but still make it out okay on the other side. That's my prayer for those boys.

Bougie Black Boy said...

Clew, I think it's time that we start compiling your blog into a book. you are brilliant. but you knew that! :)

Lori said...

I've been trying to work on a scrapbook for my daughter but have SO MUCH that I'm overwhelmed!

I'm so sorry about LeeAnne's children, and the tragedy of her passing. People are always saying that children are resilient, and in some cases they are. Both there are some things that are so difficult to overcome..and forget.

My prayers for "forgetfulness"...and moving on.

Rebecca said...

I absolutely think that forgetting some things....are best. For now anyway. There are doors that can be reopened at a later date.