However it is that we store up memories from the past, the result of the process (if not the process itself) seems as unique as each individual doing the remembering.
I have seen articles about brain research that describe connections among neurons in the brain. One thing that seems to be coming to light is that repeated patterns of thought create wider and more interconnected neural pathways.
In the quiet of the rocking chair a nursing mother may have time to "store up all these things in her heart" in a way that fathers never do. During the ensuing years, does the mother have time to revisit and keep strong these treasures of the heart? Probably depends on the mother, doesn't it?
The way a father experiences his child is different. Think cinema: mother and child is soft lighting and a camera slowly panning around from a discrete distance with romantic musical score; dad and kid is stroboscopic short cuts from an action movie with heavy metal. That's the way it gets engraved in the brain.
The way a father revisits his memories is different. Fewer repetitions perhaps. Less time per visit. Mixing in of current circumstances.
There is / were probably good evolutionary reasons for these differences, and given enough time I could probably come up with a story. But that's not what I want to talk about. (This is the part where your curmudgeonly host reveals his hidden nature. Aw...)
My memories of my children are less visual ("I remember just how he looked..."), less verbal ("I remember thinking..."), than they are other-sensory. I remember the feel of the muscles on my first son's back; I remember the feel of number two son's curly hair -- and the impossibly fine feel of my daughter's hair. And I remember (and recognize to this day) the smell of the crowns of their heads. I am confident I could have picked out my babies in the dark by scent alone.
Recently I was given a scanned picture of my daughter, age four, in a smocked dress. I honestly can't say I remember the day the picture was taken. I remember the picture. But what I want to point out is what the picture evokes: a scent (calling it "apples and some kind of spice" hints at but does not define it). I have -- stored up and treasured in my heart -- the texture, the sense-print, and I hope I will never lose it.
I believe in the resurrection of the dead. In the body. A new body. Not disembodied spirit. Calling the dead "souls" is a euphemism only; if they don't have some kind of body, they're pretty much out of business. I trust I will be able to recognize my children, by sense data, in the next life. That is my hope.
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