I had a friend tell me the other day that he wasn’t going to go see a dying relative, because he wanted to remember him the way he was, and not how he is right now. I thought “Wow I wish I had that luxury!” in reality it’s more of an excuse than a luxury.
Let me explain what I mean.
A very close friend of mine passed away a little over a year ago from cancer. I saw him several times before he passed. The last time I saw him was three days before he died. Yes, I remember him being sick, but the things I remember most have nothing to do with his cancer. I draw memories from the things we did together, and the laughter we shared. The weakness of his disease is not what I draw from in my memories. I remember it, it’s just not the most important memory.
See, I’ll remember Mom as she is. That’s true, but there are far more important memories of her than what I now see, or will see. My memories are of a Mother who prayed for each of her five children Or the Mother that kept going after her husband, and the father of her 5 children died at age 41.
I’ll remember the Mother that worked to provide and loved us unconditionally, the Mom that let us get dirty, and hosed us off in the grass before we came inside. The Mother that would laugh with us at a joke, and cry with us over the loss of our father. The memories we have of Mom as she was before she started loosing her identity are far more important to me, than the current ones.
So while I said I wish I had the luxury to use an excuse to avoid the uncomfortable, may be true from time to time. I don’t have that luxury, so I will be there for her in her hour of need. Regardless of the personal discomfort, or pain I may have now. Because she was there for me then regardless of her personal pain and discomfort.
I don’t begrudge anyone the luxury of using the memories excuse to avoid the painful and uncomfortable. My family and I just don’t have that luxury.