When thinking back to an event or episode of a person's recent or not so recent past, I often hear the comment, "I remember it like it was yesterday." The event, in question, could have happened weeks, months, years or decades ago and yet people say that the particulars are fresh in their minds; it is almost like they could reach out to touch them.
This is a capability that, in all honesty, I am very envious of. I can't recall the events of my life like it was only yesterday. Heck, I often can't remember yesterday or earlier this morning or even 30 minutes ago! I seem to live in the most immediate now and, once now becomes then, it disappears down a rabbit hole.
This is not to say that I walk around in constant amnesia. On this blog, I often write about occurrences from my past. What seems different for me than for others is that I remember things as if I read them in a book somewhere. It is sort of a clinical and rationalistic recall. I can remember the basic facts of a situation (more or less), but they appear like someone else's memories, not mine.
While others talk of feeling as if they are able to transport themselves back in time to be an active part of the memory itself, for me it's more like watching a movie through a haze. The people involved often are nondescript and what stands out most in my mind is the location and the tangible objects in the vicinity.
Though I was very close to my mother and maternal grandmother, I can't see or hear them in my mind. I know they existed and were important parts of my life when I was young, but from the vantage points of memories, it is as if they never existed at all.
I've often said I will be lost if my dear wife Della precedes me in death. She's been my everything for 28+ years and, hopefully, many more. Recently, however, I've come to grips with the notion that the above statement most likely will turn out to be untrue. Oh, I will grieve mightily for a while, but as my new normal becomes a normal without her by my side, she too will disappear down the rabbit hole.
If it turns out that I outlive Della by many years, chances are great that, in time, I will be unable to recall most things about her. I won't be able to recall what she looked or sounded like. I won't remember her endearing qualities or annoying quirks. I'll be aware that I was married to a woman named Della for a long time, but that will be about the extent of it.
That's not the most romantic thing to admit -- loved ones hope they stay in the heart of the living to the end -- but it's the way I am.
While the events of my life appear to fade within minutes or hours of my experience of them, I have very clear recall of facts and figures. I learned the capitols of all fifty states in 5th grade and I can still rattle them off now nearly 50 years later! Me noggin is crammed full of facts, statistics, numbers and theories of things I've learned over the course of my lifetime.
I'm a great teammate to have for trivia and history games!
It's hard for me to understand why the minutiae of life sticks in my brain, but the vast majority of the life I have experienced does not.