A thing that most of us have heard is that immortality is achieved by being remembered.  Let our deeds reverberate through the ages, for it is in glory that we achieve eternal life.  Ideally we would all be Vikings/Klingon warriors/Nobel prize winners.

This can be a truly comforting thought, especially for those of us who hope that there is something beyond the grave but are not convinced of an afterlife.

To remember our loved ones keeps them present in our lives, and the thought of being remembered brings us great comfort as we contemplate our legacy.


Sometimes, this notion can hurt.  When we don’t remember much of someone we love (someone we wish we loved, someone we never had the chance to love, someone we used to love, someone we think we should have loved) it can feel as if we are consigning them to oblivion.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we owe it to our people to remember them in a certain way, and if those memories don’t exist we tell a story about how we have failed them.

This can be especially difficult for people who, due to trauma or neurodivergence, don’t have all that many memories of anything from certain times in their lives.  Sometimes feeling that we owe our people memories can lead to feeling broken when we cannot remember.

And sometimes, our memories don’t cooperate.  For many younger people, we remember moments of pain more than moments of bliss.  It makes sense; we need to collect information about what is dangerous in order to make it to old age.  As we gain experience and perspective, it becomes easier for many people to view the past as a complex tapestry of good times and bad rather than a series of crises.  So when the memories that we recall most are of things we’d rather forget, sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that we are failing their legacy rather than simply having human brains that are trying so hard to keep us safe.

So.  My hope is that memories of me are like ripples in a pond that spread from a fallen leaf.  May my life leave the world a little more lovely as my deeds fade into the mist.  May no one fear that they have failed me in the forgetting.

We all have permission to forget, and you have not failed if you do not remember.

(Drink some water.)