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CRAVEN’S NOTES: The comfort of a false promise

Craven Lovelace
NOTES
Free Press Music Columnist
Craven Lovelace
Staff Photo |

“I will remember you…”

That’s a promise you find often in popular songs.

Whether it’s Sarah McLachlan singing those words, or Toto or Madonna or Miley Cyrus offering a similar declaration, it’s a sentiment which speaks to many of our hearts.

“Will you remember me?”

Memory. If we are all, as Craven suspects, merely stories we spend our all-too-brief lifespans telling ourselves, then memory is surely the most essential of human qualities. I am that boy who dipped his toe into a Hotchkiss stream and was bitten by a water snake. How do I know? Because I remember.

I am the knucklehead teen who drove too fast down an alley and smashed his car into a Dumpster. I am the lover who was left, the blowhard who brayed, the dervish who whirled to a Buzzcocks song in an apartment behind the Teller Arms shopping center on a summer night in 1980. I was all those things because I remember.

“Don’t let your life pass you by. Weep not for the memories.”

How many listeners have wept even as Sarah McLachlan admonished them not to? Everyone eventually reaches an age wherein he or she weeps for memories every day. It’s what they’re for. The very word we use to describe our longing for our past — “nostalgia” — derives from two ancient Greek words: “nostos,” to return home, and “algos”… pain.

“Remember the good times that we had? I let them slip away from us when things got bad.”

However painful our memories, more sad still is when they go. Some of you know Craven’s mother. You know what a fierce, funny force of nature she is, and what an incredibly vivid memory she has etched in anyone who has ever crossed her path. But a terrible disease is stealing her away, one memory at a time, and while those around her have a million memories of her amazing ability to hold a family together under the most cruel and trying of circumstances, her own reservoir of memories is dwindling, and the person who once astonished with the crack-whip sharpness of her strength and humor is growing distant, a mere echo of her former self.

“It’s funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word. We are screaming inside, but we can’t be heard.”

I like to think I will never forget those people who have blessed my life with their presence. But my mother is a living reminder that we are all at the mercy of our physicality, that sometimes the reins of our memories are held by someone else — or, perhaps, by no one at all. For Craven, every word that eludes, every name that escapes, every deadline that is missed brings with it a tiny knife-nick of fear that the story he has been telling himself might someday unravel the way it has for his mother.

“I will remember you…”

A week ago, I had lunch with my mother. It was one of her good days, and while she called me by my brother’s name and occasionally got lost in the maze that now engulfs her daily life, for the most part that day, it was almost as if the woman who once lit stages and hearts was back, full to brimming with her power, laughter and dignity. For a couple golden hours, I could relax in the comfort of the false promise that she would always remember me.

Craven Lovelace is the producer of the Notes Blog & Podcast at http://cravenlovelace.com/notesblog and also writes about popular culture at the Cravenomena blog at http://cravenlovelace.com/cravenblog/. You can also find him on Facebook. Notes is made possible by Tina Harbin of Real Estate West, the premier resource for all real estate information and services on the Western Slope.


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