Years ago when I was in the hospital for a severe bout of depression, during that time I was dealing with a lot of memories that had suddenly come up and that were tormenting me. Before I went into the hospital, I was having dreams where things were just coming into my recollection about my father’s drinking and abuse of Mom…things that I was recalling from when I was very small, because I was right in the middle of them when they were happening.
The mind is a funny sort of thing. I saw Marilu Henner all last week on different shows, talking about her very rare sort of memory where you can just give her a date and she can tell you what happened on that day, what she had for breakfast, etc. She said it’s like scrolling through the information in her mind to find it, and it’s there.
But most of us, we forget things along the way, or bury them. They’re still there though. Lurking…and it is possible sometimes in the case of very traumatic things, as happened to me, that when you’re recalling them you might not even remember the entirety of the situation, but can remember vivid details surrounding the event…coupled with a horrible, just negative feeling. I don’t know how else to explain it really, but that was what it was like for me.
Anyway, that was a long time ago, dealing with all that. But as I said, I was just absolutely consumed with these memories…consumed with hatred for my father at the time, consumed with wanting and trying to even know more. Then someone gave me a little analogy that I’ve never forgotten, and that has helped me immensely since.
The memories are like a big rock, in the middle of your living room floor. You cannot walk into the room without seeing that rock. You can’t walk through the room without tripping over the rock, or having to go around it. It’s in your way. What if you take that rock and place it in the corner of the room, in a special spot? You no longer have to see it all the time. You can look at it, go dust it off now and then, but it’s not in your way anymore.
I have forgiven my father. I don’t hate him anymore, and of course, he passed away 16 years ago. I no longer seek out buried memories. If they come out like they did back then, I suppose I’ll deal with that. I believe they came out then because I needed to face all of that…and ultimately to let it go and forgive. The thing about trauma to the mind like that, is that whether you are conscious of those things or not, they will affect you in many ways. And that was how it was for me.
So if you’re dealing with issues of painful memories, take a good look at it, and then put it in the corner and carry on. Your present will someday be your past. You have the choice to carry the pain of whatever it is, or to put it down and make a better present and a better future. A dear aunt once put it to me like this…”I’m so sorry that happened, and that was your story. Now your children will have their story to tell.” That may not have been the exact quote, but it got through to me. I could let them carry my story through their lives by letting it control me, or I could let it go and give them a better story to tell.
Love and blessings,