There is another reason to consciously turn toward our positive and fun memories of our loved ones. These memories often counter-balance our latest memories of seeing them being ill, injured, suffering from dementia, bearing the many "indignities" that the end of physical life can bring. We restore original, rightful dignity to our loved ones when we bring our celebratory memories to the shrine we keep for them in our hearts and minds.
I have poet Lynn Hoggard to thank for helping me see these things in an exceptionally clear light. You can read Lynn's post about her mother's courage and resolve as a teacher during the integration process that took place in the South here.
Lynn's poem, "Over the Top" had me laughing out loud... and remembering similar scenes with my mother and sister. So, here it is!
Over the Top
of our almost finished strawberry-icebox pie,
we were spraying, Mama and I,
whipped cream from a can that gurgled and spat
a clotted, fluffy moon
when all at once the can
leaped snarling out of Mama’s hand
and spewed milk-swirls on walls, floor, ceiling, and air,
on Mama and me
while we laughed and chased the crazed
wall-writing mooncalf around the room,
slipped in his drool,
and finally grabbed him, held him tight
as he hacked a final moonchunk up—
Poem copyright 2012 Lynn Hoggard, all rights reserved. Preceding text, copyright Ysabel de la Rosa.Illustration by Mark Stay