The only things that can never be taken
from you are your memories.
Create beautiful memories; they are your true riches.
Dr. Marvin E. Patterson
Shortly after posting the above quote last week, two friends responded by reminding me that our memories can be taken away from us too. This is Part One of my response.
The quote is from a very dear friend of mine, the late Dr. Marvin Patterson. It was the framework he used to help me struggle through some daunting legal and personal problems that I faced through no fault of my own. As a naive optimist, I had been totally unprepared for the calumny, rejection, and betrayal that had created these life changing economic, social, and logistical predicaments. For at least three years, I often muttered under my breath, “Of course I’m depressed. I would have to be crazy to not be depressed.”
But bit by bit he helped me face reality, accept my losses, and start facing the future with equanimity and forgiveness. There were times that only through my daydreams about creating beautiful memories for my family, could I muster the courage to put one foot in front of the other. Planning spur-of-the-moment picnics, decorating the house for holidays, cooking special meals for impromptu celebrations, or planning occasional trips together kept me going until life seemed to be worthwhile again. Creating beautiful memories became my raison d’être.
There is no way that I could have ever repaid him for his kindness. But, I know that if they do give big, solid gold stars in heaven for doing good work, he earned a thousand or so for helping me.
Also, I am quite aware that drugs, alcohol, and old age can affect one’s mind so badly that people tend to think the person is no longer “there” or is crazy. I go through a new realization of that every time I call my own mother. First, I have to explain that I am her daughter, Kaye, even though I was the only daughter she had. Then I have to make all of the conversation, keeping everything simple. We can no longer discuss ideas or current events because apparently they are now beyond her understanding. And frequently she forgets within an hour that it was I who called her.
So her beautiful memory is not about facts and pictures in her mind anymore, but about good feelings. It makes her feel good when anyone calls her, even for five minutes, because it reminds her that she is loved. And that is a beautiful memory whether she remembers it was I or not.
As always, the person who does the mitzvah, is rewarded double what the other person receives. So I have an especially beautiful memory of repaying her for her early mitzvahs to me. Beautiful memories are true riches, indeed.
Copyright by Kaye Fairweather, 2017