My mother-in-law is forgetting things. Yet her memory is also amazing. She can recount the smallest detail of life when she was a youngster in Chicago, a war bride, a mom gone back to college, a secretary at the Pentagon. Catch her on a good day and she can easily quote Merton or toss out a gaelic endearment/insult. Last time we chatted she had me in stitches. Today she was recalling truckloads of misery. Wallowing in it. Lord knows we all have our days.
I commiserate with my husband and tell him I have been newly inspired. Since it seems inevitable that we all begin to forget things, I am choosing now what I will forget. I am throwing out all the small and mean and miserable things. Too many words! Why let them take up space! I want to remember the avalanche of grace and goodness I've known. I'll keep enough of the tears to remind me of how much love I've known, but no crying over spilled milk. Yes, I am going to remember to forget. Dodge the arrows that weren't meant for me, sweep up the broken bits from that fall. I'll put up snapshots of my sweetest memories. My tongue will remember ice cream on a summers day and how to say I am sorry. My hands will hold tenderly to affection and let slip away what must on any given day.