Over time, the images in our thinking machines become fainter and grainier. Like technology in reverse, the resolution loses the number of pixels, all the way back to a point where we can’t even assign colors or sounds to the faint visual outlines we are left with.
But somehow, the feelings are left preserved. They can be triggered by a memory, photograph, or even a smell, and this made me a trigger-happy person many times in my life.
My own experience
With my mother being gone since 2016 and her being very sick for twenty years prior to that, I have to reach way, way back in the past if I want to remember something from the time when health issues weren’t “hanging around our necks like some two-tone medallion” (shout-out to David Jason/Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses). I don’t have much to work with, as I was barely seven in 1995, but every single piece of treasure I possess holds its value in a currency called “feelings” even today.
The feelings are deep; they pass through the body — guts first, and they exit in the form of goosebumps, and as long as I dedicate a few minutes of my time to reminisce, the feel-good cycle continues.
The wealth that cannot be shown off, or stolen
The earliest memories of my mother are almost always placed in fall or winter ambiance, with the wind blowing, leaves flying around us or even snow falling, with the sun shining ever so softly. But I am as cozy and warm as I’ve ever been.
I am a small figure walking next to a larger shape that represents the center of my gravity and the main source of my warmth and happiness. No matter how cold it was or where we were, I internally and undeniably knew that I was following the best footsteps one could hope for. The kindness she had was a magnet that drew other people in, and the natural internal and external beauty she possessed radiated from her like light from a newborn star.
How lucky I was to have my mother for all those years, and how lucky I am to possess all these memories now.
A responsibility that never skips a generation
Many of us have experienced tough losses in our lives, as they are painfully inevitable and often too bitter to swallow. But for those of us whose lives continue to go on, we have a duty to guard these memories and create new ones. Because one day, we will be a collection of pixels in someone else’s thinking machine, and the more important question will be — what kind of feelings are they accompanied by?