Mental scrapbooks.

Fifteen years ago, I stood in a bar with my husband and a friend from work and looked across the room into the back corner. I remember wood and barstools, the faint glow from some light. The image is burned into my consciousness, like a Polaroid snapshot. Though the evening was uneventful, the moment was representative of that time in my life. Occasionally my mind grants me these flashes of hyper-awareness. I collect them in my mental scrapbook and relish them when they break through the surface of my present.

“Fields of Gold” was playing on the jukebox. I had never paid much attention to it before, but this song about reminiscing fit the scene perfectly. Every time I hear it, I recall that evening. I can feel my right elbow on the bar and see my friend looking at something over my left shoulder. The years between now and then collapse like an accordion, and I can almost touch the past.

Recently, I learned that a close family member is very sick. Her life is going to change in a way so significant that it is an understatement to say that it will never be the same again. What’s ahead for her will be incredibly difficult and require physical, mental and emotional strength that is unparalleled by anything that has ever happened in my life.

During this time, my wish for her is that her mind plays the same tricks mine does on me. I hope that the snapshots stored from the past interrupt her day-to-day life, bringing bright spots that reward her courage and tenacity. I hope that she will be given the peace to savor them, so that she can build (and rebuild) her strength for the journey ahead. If it was a road trip, I’d make sure to include this one on the mix tape.

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