What We Can't Delete

I was shocked to see her phone number come up on my phone. I remember deleting it at least twice. It wasn’t supposed to be there. 

I was sending a text to my friend Marcey and as I searched for her contact and hit the letter M, the first contact listed was Mom. All of her numbers and information were there. Just had they had been three years ago. The moment made me stop and shake my head as I saw the correlation of never truly being able to delete items from a phone or computer system and how they are similar to our memories. Frankly, there are many things we can delete from the main frame (or our immediate memories) but they remain accessible. My Mom’s phone number reappearing was a reminder she is still with me. February is a month full of events and memories that I don’t want to delete. There are many great memories. James and I became engaged in February (yes, we are one of those Valentine’s Day couples) and we moved into both of our homes in February (we also like to tempt fate with moving into a new home in the middle of a Kentucky winter). In addition to those events, February is the month of my Dad’s birthday, my parents anniversary, the month I turned in my resignation to a job I loved and the anniversary month of my Mom’s death. Needless to say, a lot can happen in a short month. This February marks three years since my Mom’s death. A few months ago I  actually needed to double check the time frame. Life has moved  both quickly and at a snail’s pace. It can still seem just like yesterday and additionally seem much longer than three years. Due to the ability to remember specifics of times and places, I have always been able to mark  the dates of what was going on at certain times during her illness. However, this anniversary has been and is different. Days which may have been significant have passed without the conscious knowledge of the dates. As with my iphone pulling up my Mom’s number, I can pull the memory up but it is not always present. One can become stuck in the continual processing and remembrance of life’s events.  Tragic situations often become the main focus immediately after an event. It takes work to move away and no longer be the hostage of moments. Over the past three years, I have allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel and allow healing. In the acute stages of grief, many question if memories can ever occur and not be painful. Often the first year seems to be nothing but one reminder after another of the loss. It can be difficult to remember the joy as it can feel like there could never be joy again. As a counselor, I can make very few promises but I know the power of healing. Regardless if a memory is joyful or painful, the human brain has the capacity to file away these memories. Even the tragic and painful at times need to be recalled to remind of us of where where we have been, what we have accomplished and how we have changed. I’m grateful for the ability to recall the life of my Mother and what she gave me. There are days now where I may only think of her once but it does not make her presence any less in my life. I’ve been able to delete the initial pain of grief and recall the memories of love.

Do you find yourself surprised at memories you thought had been forgotten? 

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A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey


  1. Emily @ Ember Grey. on February 1, 2016 at 7:03 am

    <3 (( HUG )) "It takes work to move away and no longer be the hostage of moments." – that line really stuck out to me, it's so true. And in thinking about it that way, I think it empowers us to continue working hard to do so.

    Also, I love that you and James are one of "those" Valentine's Day couples 🙂

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on February 1, 2016 at 7:22 am

      Thanks Emily. I have to say that line also stood out to me as i wrote it. We have choices to make in regards to what we focus upon. As for James and me, every year the joke for us is “Who are those cheesy people who get engaged on this day!” I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  2. Kim Munoz on February 1, 2016 at 9:29 am

    sending hugs. Life seems to throw little things in there to remind us of certain times and events in our life. The other a lady walked by me and the smell of her perfume or lotion took me all the way back to a high school memory. Which reminded me I needed to check in with an old friend. And sometimes when I need my dad most, little reminders of him will pop up and like you, I know he is with me still!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on February 2, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      I always love hearing stories from others and their experiences. We receive those messages from our loved ones when we need them the most. I’ve had the smell memory happen several times to me!

  3. Christine Everyday on February 1, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Love you! It sounds like you have a lot going on this month, but hopefully the good memories will continue to outweigh the bad. You are so right that we have to focus on the good, and work hard to work past our memories. I think you’re doing brilliantly.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on February 2, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks Christine! It’s all about practicing self care and being realistic with where one is at and what is going on.

  4. Meagan on February 1, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Lots of hugs this month. Also, I like to think that her name popping up was her saying “hello”. I absolutely believe in those little moments coming from Heaven!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on February 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks Meagan. I agree with you that I think she was just letting me know she is still with me. I’ve been given many of those gifts and it always makes me smile.

  5. Holly Higgins on February 1, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    All the time. I agree that she was saying hello.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on February 2, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      I agree Holly. I’m lucky enough that I believe she visits me in many ways and especially when I need it.

  6. Chelle @ Blogs Like a Girl on February 1, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Sometimes a memory just crosses my mind and I’m surprised its still there, so I understand what you’re talking about.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on February 2, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      I’ve often said there are memories I had forgotten I even had until they appear out of no where!

  7. Vashelle on February 1, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    This is beautifully written <3 I'm sure your words bring peace to someone transitioning into the place where memories adorn every corner and the raw, fresh pain is no longer a burden to bear. You have such a gift, Sheryl!

  8. Anne @ Love the Here and Now on February 2, 2016 at 6:36 am

    How soothing and comforting to reach that point as I know that grief is such a long road. Thanks for giving hope to those in the midst of the beginning stages of grief!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on February 2, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Anne, you are so right. It is comforting to reach a point in the journey where what was once painful is no longer. I felt seeing her name in my contacts was her way of letting me know she was still with me. My hope is to always let others know it DOES get better.

  9. Dadie Bradshaw on February 2, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Perfect words! I like this post.

    DadieB. ~

  10. TheAdventuresofBugandBoo on February 4, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    This is such a comforting and helpful post!

  11. NiChallenged on February 9, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    I think every night memories I thought I forgot creep up. But I have come to peace with it and as you say something you cannot delete. Thanks for sharing.

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