The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves, they find their own order…the continuous thread of revelation. Eudora Welty
Our lives move forward on a continuum. Events happen every day. Some events are memorable and some are not. I have always found it interesting the things we have stored away and can recall and the things we can’t. Our memories are selective. Our brains store information….probably everything we ever did but most of it cannot be recalled.
I have been asked about my earliest memory. I have a memory but it is not really clear. I am standing in a crib in my mother and father’s room. That is all there is. There is no context…nothing more than that. I don’t know why I have that memory. It seems to have no significance but there it is.
Of course we remember traumatic events or days of special happiness but we don’t always remember the specifics and our memories will usually not match those of others who were there.
It is also interesting how memories can be triggered by other senses. A certain smell can cause recall. I grew up in Virginia and my family had large privet hedges around the back yard. When I smell privet it brings back memories of that place.
Music can remind us of a particular time that we heard it. We also experience the feelings associated with those memories. This can be a good thing but in the case of persons who have had a trauma it can bring it all back full force. That is what happens to those with PTSD. The memory comes with all the feelings of fear and horror.
How our brain keeps memories and which ones come to light is not fully known but more is learned each day.
2 thoughts on “The elusive memory”
I had one of those scent flashbacks when I was getting married and wanted a special perfume. The moment I smelled it I was transported back to my grandmothers home in Missouri. When I asked my dad if he remembers seeing a bottle or anything on her dresser, he recalled the very same one. I knew this was what I needed to wear.
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