BRODY: The importance of making memories

Published 8:26 am Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mother’s Day has recently passed and it always makes me return to the memories of my own dear mother.

First of all, what is a memory? Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary tells us memories are the recalling of incidents, experiences or feelings from the past.

When I sat down and put my pen to paper today, the first memory that came to me was a three-day bus trip I took with my mother. It was from Abbey Delray Life Care Facility in Delray Beach, Florida to Mt. Dora, Florida.

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It was the very first time in all of my years I was part of a tour group.

First, I was the “young-un,” the only person out of the 31 who didn’t reside at Abbey Delray.

The sunset cruise on the lake was the first event. It was beautiful but cold and windy, especially since it was an open boat and it was mid-December.

Everybody, including me, was ready for bed after the cruise. It amazed me all of the people on the tour were 80 and older and my own mother was 91, yet they had the stamina to take the trip.

Now, I’m not going to do a travelogue of our bus trip as it is not the purpose of this column.

The next morning after a trolley ride through Mt. Dora and then a quaint little brunch, my mother and I walked a nature trail just the two of us.

It was so quiet. I remember we got all caught up into becoming part of another, simpler world. There was no need to talk and, just because we both felt like it, we joined hands as we walked.

You know, I didn’t go on this bus trip to Mt. Dora for the food or the music on the boat or the quaint shops. I remember a few years back telling my fifth grade class at St. Agatha School I would not be there next week because I was going to visit my mother.

They all got very quiet but one little boy’s eyes widened in disbelief, “You mean you have a mother?”

What I read on his face was something like you’re the oldest person I know how could you have a mother?

Well, I did have one and I never took it for granted.

How many people at any adult age have the chance to go on a bus trip with their mother? How about a 91-year-old mother?

She is why I took the trip. We shared a room and a bath, toothpaste, jackets and an overnight bag. It made us remember we loved the same things so we petted the four resident cats at the inn and snuck them into our room.

We took a long nature walk together. We both slept and snored on the bus and both complained about the room at the inn where the lighting was too dim to put on our lipstick.

Mostly, it was the memories we made together I treasure. Was that bus trip with 31 senior residents exotic, glamorous or exciting? No, but those three days being close to my mother told me a little more about that beautiful lady who gave me life and always stood by me as I raised my four children.

Also, I loved being the “young-un,” being someone’s daughter.

I learned at 68 years old, older people have a sense of grace about them. It made me remember how I wanted to be when I’m the old person.

And now I am that old person.

My life is crammed full of memories. I find I remember the good ones, the ones that make me feel loved, way more than the bad ones.

Do you do that? I mean, we all have those painful memories as well as the good ones but don’t we recall the sweet ones more often?

Now that I’m 86 and can’t go out much, I often depend on memories to sustain me.

However, as Mother’s Day rolled around this year, I decided to make some new memories. My daughter, Phoebe, and son-in-law Steve, picked me up in the early afternoon and, with my portable oxygen on my arm, we drove to Kyle and Rachel’s beautiful mountain home for a meal and lots of talk.

It was a family gathering with my kids and grandkids, Rachel’s parents and everybody’s dogs. There was a real fire in the fireplace and pillows on chairs for restful comfort and conversation.

Time passed quickly. Doesn’t it always when you are surrounded by love?

But by 8 p.m., I was “done.” A part of me wanted to be with and touch each person there for a long time more but, because I realized I’m in that stage where a wondrous moment joins all the other wondrous moments in my life. I needed to go home to rest.

I also realized now that the memory doesn’t have to be a special event, a long visit, but rather  — like when Phoebe drops by after a long day at work, she brings me a hot fudge sundae and we simply talk about stuff,  she kisses me goodbye and she tells me she loves me — these short times can be the sweetest memories of all.

My grandson Taylor called me as I sat writing this morning. He said, “Mema, I just bought a new Jeep and I want to put the top down and take you for a ride!” My heart sank.

Here I am trying to finish my column about making memories and I have to finish today so I sadly tell him I can’t go with him for the joy ride in the new Jeep.

Now isn’t there something wrong with this picture? I mean, here I am writing about the importance of making memories. Yet, when Taylor wants me to ride in his new Jeep today and undoubtedly make a joyful new memory, I can’t go.

Hopefully, he will ask me again and I wont be behind in writing my column. I will go and we will have a blast together, just what memories are made of.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.