Collective Consciousness

by | Jan 29, 2011 | 2 comments

It’s amazing how the mind works and how random memories (or maybe not so random) are constantly triggered throughout our day.  I think this happens all the time for everyone, but now that I am trying to catch those memories, I am much more aware of it.

I wish sometimes I could manage to write a stream of consciousness piece that captures the way that thought process works- going from one thought to another to lead you to a memory.

I have never forgotten that you were dead…not for one moment- even when I’m asleep though I hope it’s a nightmare and I might wake up to find you beside me.  But I am surprised by all the memories that you are a part of.  I remember seeing a certain film, and laughing with someone- many years ago…and then, “Oh, that was you too…” or I remember teaching someone the best way to put a duvet cover on a duvet- and “Oh yeah, of course that was you too.”  I remember meeting someone for lunch and waiting on line at Shake Shack for an hour one summer day, “You.”

The memories come up and because they are of “us” they usually bring a taste of joy to the ripples in my brain when they surface…but then when I realize that one is lost too…I am very sad.

And these memories, they don’t stop when we met…amazingly- they reach way back into two separate childhoods- and all of the memories we shared with each other.  In a sense your memories became a part of mine and mine yours- a collective consciousness if you will.

This week I had two memories like that…one from my childhood and one from yours, and it turns out they both have to do with songs we wrote as children.

Mine was called “Valentine’s Day” and I made it up spontaneously while tape recording a “Valentine’s Show” on my pretend radio station when I was probably about seven or eight?  It was a jazzy tune that I sang in a strange “grown-up” voice.  I played some of my childhood tapes for you- and you heard it.  We laughed a lot and sometimes we sang the song.  It came into my head this week and then I thought of how funny it was – as if the original memory itself was shared with you…and then I remembered why it was funny and how we had laughed together and how you had been there and known me- even as a child- because that is what happens when you come together…one flesh.

Then, just this morning, I remembered what you stated was your “first song.”  I was putting peanut butter on a waffle for Audrey and started to sing it without thinking, “Peanut butter and jelly, put it in my belly…yum yum yum yum yum yum…oh ham.”   I was feeling the warmth of that shared memory, without thinking of its source, when I was startled by the fact that this is your childhood memory and you are dead.  That’s the best I can do to explain what it feels like.  I can’t believe again that this is about you…the one that wrote that song and sang it in your cutest voice…you were proud of it I think.  So was I.  I taught it to Audrey and she sang it at breakfast today.  You would’ve absolutely loved it.


January 29, 2011


  1. Anonymous

    So true. The collective memories shared with loved ones begin to feel like my own. I can recall them as easily. I relish the retelling as much as my own. But when I remember that the loved one, the source of a memory, is lost to me now, it is heartbreaking.

  2. mia

    thanks for commenting on my blog! i know this sounds really silly, but i felt so honored that you read my entry. =D (and even more honored and excited that you had commented! hehe)

    i really admire your entries. though they are sad, they are very real and genuine. it encourages me to know that even in pain, other people can connect with each other and feel comfort in knowing that we can share each other's suffering.

    i'm praying for you! =)


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like…

List-making in a Dark Time

List-making in a Dark Time

For any other list-makers out there, I published this on HerStories yesterday.""In this time of quarantine, my lists are offering me space outside of the walls of my home, a way of making sense of chaos, a self-imposed structure on structure-less days, and even a way...

Simple Things

Simple Things

"In our deepest self we keep living with the illusion that we will always be the same." Henri Nowen "It's really very simple," my late spiritual director, Gladys, once said to me. She was talking about how she lived each day, waking up, having a written conversation...

Continuous Living

Continuous Living

"Anxiety turns us toward courage, because the other alternative is despair." Paul Tillich I've claimed "seasonal affective disorder" for years, and that may be so, but I'm starting to realize it's not only summer to fall that is hard for me. It's winter to spring, and...