I have been thinking about this post in my head for a week. I plan my posts before I write them, because I want them to have purpose. I want you to know how I am feeling and what I think, even if it's just about running or a family of fruit flies that happen to be living in my Christmas cactus plant.
It is important for us all to have memories. I have great memories, although I've forgotten moments that haven't seemed as important. I remember parts of preschool, elementary school, all the way through college. I remember our childhood pets, camping trips we took, dance recitals, swim practices...all sorts of things.
Memories help us to relive moments that have passed. As we grow older, we forget instances from our past. We're heading down the road and "that one time" from long ago seems to get smaller and smaller in the distance, as if we are driving away from it and leaving it behind. We know it's there, we just can't see it as clearly.
Sometimes we need to remember people. We don't live forever, but...we actually kind of do. We leave parts of ourselves - our personalities, our love and compassion, our hope - imprinted in lives of others, and it keeps living through them, and whoever else they pass it along to.
This is the point of the post, folks. A recent loss has gotten me searching for buried treasure, trying to find pieces of my own past that are just far enough down the road that I need to be reminded of what they look like up close. It's not that I'm old or forgetful, but I want to be reminded of people that are gone, and I want something tangible.
So I keep things, in plastic containers and shoe boxes under my childhood bed in my parents' house. Nothing big, and not in a hoarding fashion. I have my set chips from band camps. I have flowers from high school formals. And I have greeting cards.
Greeting cards are a dying art form, just like the post. I love getting mail when it isn't a bill or an advertisement that wastes paper because it is instantly thrown out. You can save cards, and people write messages to you, to tell you they're thinking of you. You sign your name. It's personal.
Greeting cards are not emails. They don't expire, and you don't have to click on them to view some stupid cartoon or hear an annoying song. You can display a greeting card on your desk or on a mantle, and it will keep you quiet company - a constant and subtle reminder that someone has remembered you today, in a way that you can appreciate tomorrow.
Over 1 billion cards are sent for birthdays, and another 1.8 billion are sent out at Christmas (Hallmark). If you sent me a card, chances are good that I kept it. I cherish them. Thank you for wishing me a happy birthday when I turned three... I still have the card and know that you cared about me 21 years ago.
This thought process is all sparked by the loss of a special lady, my grandma Ruth. Ruth was always kind and always listened when you had a story to tell (even if was a terrible story, and knowing me, it may have been from time to time as I am queen at telling bad stories). She was proud of things I'd accomplished in my life. She worried about others, because she wanted everyone to be happy, or at least okay. She sent cards on all sorts of occasions, including Easter and Valentine's Day, and there was always a little note, to describe the weather or just to simply say hello.
Aside from the cards from Ruth (and sometimes my mom and one other friend in Oklahoma), I don't really get greeting cards anymore. My box of cards from years past are from kids whose parents were friends with mine. The neighbor boys. My other lovely grandmother who passed away almost 10 years ago. Now, our generation's idea of a happy birthday wish is a post on a Facebook wall. "Happy birthday." The end. No more thought, no story, no nice note. Facebook even does the dirty work for you and lists birthdays on that particular day. It doesn't really mean as much as people might think.
So here's what I really want to say. It's okay to keep things. Really, it is. And it's okay to hold on to your memories, because they have helped to mold you, and shape you, and you're carrying on the legacy of someone you knew. And it's okay to spend a few dollars on your friends or your family to send them a little note in the mail, even if it's late or isn't considered "green" or environmentally friendly or something. Show that you care and take the time to slap a stamp on an envelope, instead of shooting off an email that takes just seconds to compose.
Who knows, you may be helping someone mark a milestone in their life and it may make their day. And maybe, just maybe, they'll keep it so that they can remember you.
After all, you are somebunny special.