Mar 18, 2017

Warren of Memories

Yesterday was my dear friend, Connie Podnar's Birthday. 

Connie would have been 51 years young. Connie's life was taken by colon cancer in January of 2012.  It's fitting that her birth day is March 17th, a day of celebration for many around the world. 

Everything about Connie was a celebration ! You could not spend 5 minutes with Connie and at some point not have a huge smile on your face and heart ! She was that kind of person, always looking for the best and brightest in everyone she met. 

I don't know if the feelings and emotions in my heart about Connie's death will ever abate.  Not sure they will ever rest.  Her connection to my life, has not lessened in anyway by her passing.  

Certainly there is a place in my psyche, a warren of sorts, a labyrinth of memories: connected and woven; threads of grief and sorrow that over time have evolved fortress strong.  This network of images, sounds, places, emotions, rests most of the time, not always.  

I know it's different for everyone. 

As of late, I can't watch Fox News without thinking of Marilyn Sward, my dear friend in Arizona, who passed away in January of this year. Fox News a fixed companion in her life, she knew all the shows, all the hosts, all the special guests panels, Marilyn's favorite, Megyn Kelly, now no longer at Fox. 

I can never pass a flower arrangement with torch gingers and/or an beautiful orchid plant and not think of my Mom and Dad. Ana and I went to a flower shop in Jacksonville a few weeks ago that has amazing display of flowers in their store windows.

As soon as we stepped in, the red torch gingers standing tall and elegant, vibrant with their shiny waxy surface, startled the memories of all the arrangements my Mom would create and have in our house in Panama, torch gingers that grew in our backyard in Altos del Golf. 

Formal Dinning Room in Altos del Golf -  Panama 

My meeting a few weeks ago with Joe Connolly at the piano at Mayo, stirred the wonderful memories and few times I had the fortune of hearing Paul Phillips play the piano at his home in Atlanta. Paul was amazing at the keys. He became one with the music, the sound, the emotions.  

When I cut celery for Maddie and Morgan, my DAD is nearby. We always had fresh cut celery and carrots in the refrigerator in Barstow. And the slices were always the same size, especially the carrots, he always made sure the carrots were the same thickness.  Grapefruits and pineapples also always open the doors to the same deep, quiet warren that guards and protects all the memories, the images, sounds, smells, the emotions. 

The medal of the Virgin Mary that I've worn everyday since 1975, the medal that Grandma Chichi bought for me in Mexico City, that tiny round object is an  on switch to the movie reel in my head and heart about Grandma Chichi. 

I think of her everyday, it can be seconds; the tapestry of Grandma Chichi moments, her voice, her kitchen, her love and compassion, I'm enveloped in that tapestry, guarded, protected, guided by her love. Yesterday it was soy sauce, when I added soy sauce to something I was cooking, this was a go to ingredient for my Grandma, a fixture in her kitchen pantry at the finca in Panama, Linda Vista. 

I know it's different for everyone. 

We all have this place in the brain called the hippocampus that stores memories. There is fascinating research on how memories are created, stored, lost, found, enhanced, all of the above. Below is a link to an article from the Smithsonian from a few years ago, regarding memory, brain research.