Last weekend we visited my mother in Florida. She was recently hospitalized with a broken arm and was sent to a progressive care center for therapy. As we sat chatting in the community garden under some palm trees, she glanced at me and my husband from time to time, but her mind wandered to different places, different times. She told us she had plans to meet some women from work later that afternoon and they were going shopping in Port Washington–the town thousands of miles north, where she grew up. She called my husband by the wrong name. She told the nurses’ aide that I was her sister.
For me, the mind is like this street in Capri. Steep and winding. Full of patches of sun and deep shadows. For my mother, forgetting was a blessing.
In the months preceding her fall, she was distressed by her inability to remember, but now she was beyond that. Simply put, she was happy. Mentally, she was far away from the reality of the rehab hospital, her broken arm, her failing health, her faltering mind, and her long and difficult relationship with my father.
This is a lesson for me, and, I suspect, for all of us as as we face new challenges with some degree of trepidation and uncertainty. In these moments, it’s tempting to hesitate, to get stuck in the past, in familiar territory. As we waffle between idea and taking action, we sit on a mental fence, counting our past failures, reminding ourselves of our weaknesses. Or, perhaps we replay the challenges not taken, the opportunities that slipped through our fingers, or the relationships that dissolved in anger or in silence instead of thinking of our abundant strengths, our positive qualities, and our resiliency.
In moments like this, we forget who we truly are; we forget our true magnificence and power as a very human being. Instead, we focus on the small picture–our failures, fears, and doubts. But as we move forward into new territories, new challenges, new relationships, we have to do a bit of remembering and forgetting. It’s not easy to do–to strike that balance and sometimes it takes all of our courage. The author of the quote at the top of this post has a contrary opinion. Do you agree with her that it’s easy to forget? Or, do you agree with me, that sometimes it is very difficult?