No, I’m not going to break into song.
Lately I’ve been very aware of the fact/idea that we are really nothing more than our memories. Perhaps this is where my recent obsession with the problem of “you’re there and then you’re not” is really coming from — trying to come to terms with the idea that all of the things that exist only in your own mind completely fail to exist when you expire.
All of the things you thought but didn’t say, all of the things you wanted but didn’t do, they all go when you “go.”
We can all go around making our lives meaningful, leaving a “mark” on the world (whether it be in a garden plot, a happy child, or a redeemed social condition*), making some kind of difference to someone/s somewhere, but what about all of those other things that never manifest outside of our thoughts?
A family member asked once why I blog. It seems that my desire to speak to the world, and to be heard, isn’t necessarily understood, nor shared, by everyone.
I think this is why. To be more than just my memories, to give voice to all of the “voices”^ in my head.
I want as many people as people to know that I was here. I’m here. Right here. Do you hear me?
So much held in heart in a life. So much held in heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one, in the end–not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen. . .
~Brian Doyle, The Wet Engine
*Ralph Waldo Emerson
^I don’t hear voices in a schizophrenic way, just the usual, and I recognize them all as my own.