May 9th, the day our daughter died, is a day for remembering. I don’t really spend too much time trying to remember that day, 6 years ago. I spend my day remembering her life: the good and the bad, the simple and the tragic, the beauty and the ashes.
I know that some people who lose loved ones try to forget. They don’t look at pictures. They won’t rehearse memories. But I have found it to be life giving. After all, remembering God’s goodness to His people is a biblical mandate and a foundation for faith. Moses told the people, “don’t forget to remember what you’ve seen,” in Deuteronomy 4:9. If it is a good enough practice for my faith, why not rehearse my memories of my daughter too.
I don’t want to forget to remember her!
So especially on May 9th, I look through my facebook pictures, open her childhood photo albums, view some family videos and rehearse the memories.
I read a study done by Northwestern University in 2013 that discussed “memory rehearsal “ even during sleep. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130412132428.They found that when we rehearse events during our awake hours and during our dreams, it increases our ability to remember those events. So I’ll nap today too and pray that God will fill my dreams with memories.
A few weeks after Bethany died we took her son, Noah on a trip to the beach. He was 3 years old at the time. We stayed at a friend’s cabin in the Smokey Mountains halfway. I wondered how he was processing her death and I worried that he would soon forget her. One early morning I found him quietly looking out a window and talking to someone. I stepped closer to hear what he was saying. I could hear him quietly laughing and watched him shiver. I heard him say, “stop tickling me, Mommy.” Then he giggled again.
I didn’t ask him what was happening. I didn’t want to invade his time with her. I’ve often wondered what that encounter actually was about. I think he was rehearsing his memories of his mommy. It came so easy for him. I hope he still does that when he is alone. Lilly was 6 months old when Bethany died but she tells me she has memories of her too. She, like her mother, has an extremely active imagination and I think it will serve her well!
So today I will engage my imagination and rehearse some memories. If you have lost someone that you love, I encourage you to do so too.
As Moses said to his people in his final address, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9
Yes, I know that Moses was speaking about what God had done for them, but when I remember the gift of Bethany, that is exactly what I am doing!
O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don’t forget a single blessing! Psalm 103:1-2 The Message