What is it about a moment that makes it worthy of being filed away in that treasure chest of memories? Is it the uniqueness of a first time experience, or is it the person/people that you’ve shared it with, or maybe its just the moment itself?
And the things that trigger a memory, are they seemingly random too? A smell, a taste, a smile, a colour, a song. Whilst it might seem that way, sometimes the force with which it hits feels so powerful, almost overwhelming, oftentimes resulting in a strong sense of deja-vu. In researching this, I found this fascinating article, on how the brain actually works, and how memories are formed. Its truly remarkable how Allah has created us, with such intricacy and artistry Alhamdulillah.
What started me on this chain of thought? A few weeks ago, I experienced one such trigger if you will, in a uniquely different manner! A client had to fill in a form, and for a moment I was awestruck! No, I hadn’t ever seen this elderly gentleman before, and hadn’t even spoken to him! But, you see, his hand-writing was EXACTLY like my late grand-dads. And even though consciously I KNEW it wasn’t my grand-dad filling in that form, I have to admit a part of me still savoured the moment. Back then I never realised what happy memories the image of that handwriting created for me so long ago. I’ll admit that with the passing of time, I had started to forget the details, but that morning seeing *his* handwriting brought it all flooding home again. The type of pen he’d use ( an inky Parker pen always) how he kept it in his shirt pocket, how I’d help myself to it and show off in school with a fancy pen, how he’d fake-grumble that I was always taking his pens, how he’d sign school notes and tests secretly because I never wanted my parents to see a bad test mark, how he would sit at a table, his invoice books in front of him and carefully neatly hand-write every invoice for every customer, always remembering to insert that small blue square of carbon paper between every alternate page. I also remembered the shape of his hands, old and wrinkled from years of work, yet still soft and protective when holding one of his many grandchildren and great grandchildren!
It unleashed so many fond memories.
It made me smile.
It made me wonder.
It in itself became a memory!
I guess I’m partly trying to understand why some things stick in our minds, to become happy memories, and others don’t.
I came across the following quote recently:
“Humans, not places, make memories.”
-Ama Ata Aidoo
That really resonated with me. Of all my joyous memories, its the people who feature in them that make them stand out, for the music of laughter, for the beauty of smiles, for the warmth of hugs, for the colour of love! Its the people that you share a bit of your heart with that truly make the moment a memorable one.
It has left me wondering though, when I am no more what will people remember about me, what details will stick with them, what will be a trigger to a memory of me? Who knows? But with that being said, let’s keep in mind that every moment has the potential to become a memory filled with joy or with disgust, one that brings a smile or a frown. Let that be a guiding force, and I’m willing to bet there’ll be lots more good that bad!
Know that one day, our time here will have reached its end date, and after we’ve breathed our last, what ask yourself what kind of memories do we want to leave behind…as parents to our children, as friends, as siblings, as a spouse, as a neighbour, as a human being?
Abu Hurayrah (ra ), reported that Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:
“When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah, a knowledge (of Islam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child (family members) who makes du’a for him.”
May Allah guide us, and allow us to be a benefit to all, and thereby leave good memories for others to make dua for us.