yesterday was the day of my Dad’s birthday. Ninety four years ago, he was born, the first son and second child to a family who had very little of anything. We have been without him for thirty three years, and he is missed every single day.
Talking with my cousin last night she told a story from our childhood. Our Dad’s had taken us out to fly our kites. I remember the day well, it wasn’t often my Uncle and Dad were in charge of us girls. We went to a park with hills, in sight of the sea, it was sunny and windy, perfect kite flying weather. We ran up and down completely failing to get our kites into the air, we didn’t care it was fun. Later a ball was found and our Dad’s began kicking it about with us. I have no memory of this bit, but my cousin has never forgotten it. The ball was decorated with stars and my Dad told us he would kick it high into the sky where it would catch more stars. My cousin totally believed that her Uncle, my Dad, was magical. She remained in awe of his ability to collect stars for many, many years.
This story reminded me of how no one can ever be truly gone while people still talk of them and remember them. It also made me think of how we are all connected and how our lives impact on others all the time, whether we know it or not, we are making a difference.
I think I believe that we are the sum of the memories we leave behind. I am not only talking about once we are no longer alive, I mean all the time. People will remember things we do, things we say and how we behave, and those memories will be different for everyone. We are actually the sum of our behaviour and our actions.
Maybe my Dad wasn’t really magical, perhaps he didn’t collect stars, but he had the ability to give my cousin a memory she has never forgotten.
So, from now on I shall be a careful about how I behave. I will try to keep in mind that this footprint of my life will leave it’s mark on those I interact with. I am not going to overthink it, but instead take comfort in our collective memories of simply being alive. We are indeed the fortunate ones.