January Memories


Memories of life and love converged with memories of death and grief.

Linked by dates, the memories came as one.

I looked at my watch while waiting for traffic at the intersection. January 11. My daily routine drive to the post office was unexpectedly interrupted by memories of loss.

Loss is complicated.

Regardless of my daily routine, grieving has its own schedule.

Family fun (not the mandatory kind), family fear, family fights. There were lively conversations, celebrations, hugs, arguments and agreements. Childhood evenings with my parents involved popcorn and G-rated family TV. Years later, visiting as an adult, I discussed recent books and politics with my mother, religion and the purpose of life with my father.

It’s hard to remember one without the other. My father was quite surprised to discover his mortality seven years ago. He planned to live forever. My mother was sure she would not survive his loss. However, grieving has its own schedule. Family was redefined with one parent. Sibling lives were uprooted, transformed, and modified. We were gifted five more years with an amazing woman.

Today marks twenty-six years since my dear friend despaired and died. The life of the party snuffed out his own light. I was angry about that for a very long time. I still don’t understand.

Memories linked by dates.

What is a Mentastics Minute when grieving decides it’s time to remember?

Thankfully, I was just blocks from the post office. I paused when I reached the parking lot, turned off the car, set the one minute timer. I closed my eyes. Almost immediately I heard the question, ‘what could be lighter?’ Was there a place in my body that felt tired or tight? The thoughts of the past projected images onto the movie screen in my mind.

My breathing slowed, I sensed tension in my jaw and in my hands. Grieving hands had lost the touch of friends and family. ‘What could be lighter?’ I relaxed my jaw, even allowed my mouth to open slightly. Taking a deep breath in, I stretched my hands wide, feeling their range, allowed them to close on the out breath.

Mentastics Minute when grieving decides it’s time to remember:
– Set a timer for one minute, breathe, watch the memories, find the tension or fatigue area(s) in the body, ask ‘what could be lighter?’
– Consciously relax the jaw, even allowing the mouth to open slightly, stretch the hands