Grief and memory

It is a small part of today’s gospel: “grief has filled your hearts.” It is something we have all experienced and will again experience. Perhaps the grief will be from a new event or cause, but it is also possible that one will again experience the grief from a past loss that surges back into life and memory. In my experience as priest and pastor I often come across the idea that many people believe if you have fully mourned a loss, then you will then achieve closure. The idea say that the process is (a) one mourns a loss and (b) in time one reaches closure. The very word “closure” seems to offer the idea of a door that closes behind you as you set upon the journey of the rest of your life, leaving the past in the past. If one hopes or believes that closure means one “has gotten over it” such that emotions about the loss are no longer triggered, then I think one is holding onto a myth. Continue reading

To hold dear

Christ-sending-His-ApostlesMemory is an interesting thing.  There are many physiological and psychological theories around the topic, but lots of folks seem to agree we have memory for facts and memory for context.  Sometimes the memories are general and sometimes explicit. We tie memory to specific events, personal experiences, semantic categories and more. Then whatever the memory, we have to “register” the memory, store it and then recall it. Continue reading

Stories we tell; stories we hear

red-appleThank you to all who have asked about my mom. She is doing well physically, still plays a mean game of gin rummy, but her memory – or at least her access to her memories – lays somewhere between fuzzy and random with spots of complete clarity. Visits with her are a wonderful mix of storytelling and sometimes making a connection. Makes you wonder how memory works? Continue reading