A person, a memory, an idea or a way of life. We all work to keep things alive because the things we treasure, or have treasured, somehow shape us and contribute to our identity.
I’m thinking mostly about people we have loved, but as I was writing it occurred to me just how much effort we put into preserving other things we have valued.
This led me to the idea that remembering can turn to nostalgia and even reverence. There’s nothing wrong with either, but neither is the same as offering true recognition to something that has gone. Smaltzy anniversaries can whip up emotion, but honouring a person or their contribution to our lives is a deep personal commitment. Through it, we remain connected to that which we have lost.
As memories begin to fade (which they do, it’s healthy) some people can feel a little guilt. This is not helpful as it taints the original, beautiful, memory.
Rather than attempting to resuscitate something that is fading, consider creating a ritual to honour and salute it instead. It is only going the way things naturally do, and we should let the past slip away with dignity, by acknowledging and thanking it.
Dead Man’s Diaries – A Posthumous Autobiography