Living Memory

My Great Grandmother died a few days ago. She raised my brother and I from about age 2 to 13. I’m 31 now; she was 96. I think it’s quite a luxury in today’s time to have known one’s Great Grandmother well. As couples are having children much later in life (at least in the Bay Area of San Francisco), children are often lucky to have a set of Grandparents who are mobile and energetic.

I began to consider what the Pastor said at the service. He talked about her being physically gone, but also talked about the gift of memory bestowed upon us and how she lives on in our memory. I’ve heard this said many times in other discussions about death. I thought about this in a new light.

My wife is still alive; I can’t describe enough how good this is. She also lives in my memory at the same time. Although, she doesn’t have any conscious knowledge of my memory of her. Meaning, it appears this is totally my experience disconnected from her experience. Physically, this explanation is obvious. However, I imagine she can get hints about how I think of her by my subconscious actions. As the saying goes, thought leads to action.

So, now back to the deceased. Since my memory doesn’t appear to be a soul “link” with my wife where we speak via telepathy (it could be, I would hope it is), then with my deceased grandmother I can only expect it’s the same. This is where my conundrum starts.

I began to think about not my own memory, but my Great Grandmother’s memory. From what I can observe about physical death, it’s gone because the brain is gone. So, all the times we were either nice, mean, or loving to her were also gone to her. Then, another thought came.

If how you treat someone is erased by death, why does it matter how you treat them? Immediately, I understood something I’ve always known but, now, it had a new weight and felt quite profound. The reason it matters is because how you treat someone matters to them when they’re alive, thus it matters to the living. We all have to get along in order to survive. Not so much as about death, our lives are about life with each other.

Any spritualist medium experts around to comment on this one? I’m only seeing the physical side of things.

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