“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
My father died this week. He was ninety-one years old.
My father was an entrepreneur with an uncanny ability to engage people and was a master of the art of conversation. He loved his job as a shopkeeper, and it was a job for which he was ideally suited.
During his brief illness I noticed how memories of him suddenly came flooding back and I literally became his child again, re-living my childhood trips with him to football matches, working with him in his shop and listening to his conversations with customers – so much so that sometimes the customers forgot what it was they came into the shop to buy. I could go on and on.
We are our memories
We literally are our memories; they define us and no better man than my father to instil my own childhood memories. In this way he helped to define who I am today and my brain is literally packed full of memories of him. Although the loss of my father is heart breaking, my memories of him are of some consolation and they will be cherished.
While bereavement at any age is difficult, childhood bereavement can be particularly traumatic possibly because of the scarcity of those memories from which to derive any identity or consolation. Click below for valuable resources in helping children understand bereavement – Consolation for Life’s Darkest Hours: 7 Unusual and Wonderful Books that Help Children Grieve and Make Sense of Death
I will develop this theme of the brain and bereavement in greater detail including coping strategies in future posts. In the meantime my memories, dreams and reflections go to my father at this time.
May his soul be on God’s right hand.
Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam. (Old Gaelic blessing)