The first box is the earliest memory, one of my brother being born. I know this is not just a story told to me by my mother because I remember the feelings I had.
I was sent to the flat upstairs while my mum gave birth in her bedroom, the girl who lived there was seven years older than me . After the baby was born she took me by the hand downstairs to meet my new brother.
I can remember feelings of excitement and then disappointment when she was allowed to hold him first, her being nearly ten and I being a tiny two and a half. I think I probably stamped my foot and behaved like a terrible two, after all the baby was MY brother and not hers. There the memory ends.
There are boxes marked,"Schooldays" and " Places I have worked". Some boxes are so tattered and torn from being taken from the shelf and looked at so often. Those boxes hold the memories of my husband and I on our wedding day,our first home together and the births of our two children. I look at these often, I take them from the box and relive the happiest moments of my life.
Some boxes are too painful to open fully, not because the memories are bad but because they contain loved ones who are no longer here. I have to be feeling brave as I peek inside and see the faces of my gran, my parents and aunt and uncle, all who played major parts in my life, they helped make me who I am but sometimes it hurts too much to think of them.
The brightly coloured shiny boxes are the loveliest ones to look inside, they contain my children's childhood, the holidays we had, Christmas days, their "firsts in life". These memories make me smile and fill my heart.
There's a special box marked," three dogs and a cat." Sandy, Tess, Cassie and Jake. What fun those animals brought our family over the years, Sandy our first dog, a spaniel, had a big attitude problem and went to live with someone new when he took a dislike to our firstborn. I cried for days but it had to be done.
Tess was with us for seventeen years until old age claimed her, she was the most gentle animal ever and a big part of the children's childhood.
Cassie, ah! Cassie, her memory is one of the painful ones, we lost her to cancer two years ago but the loss of her is still raw. She was a Boxer, the silliest, funniest most lovable dog, taken too soon at eight years old .
Jake the cat, he looked like a Russian Blue, completely grey in colour but from a litter of tabbies. His best friend was Tess and when I took her for a walk Jake used to run along beside us. Everybody loved him and he lived for fourteen years.
Sam, the German shepherd dog we have now is making more memories for us.
We capture our magic moments with cameras and videos whether it be on holiday, a new baby, a graduation we always have the evidence that these events took place and if the worst were to happen and these photographs and videos were no longer there we still have our memories.
My mother-in-law had a stroke a few years before she passed and it affected her memory. Her filing system didn't work any more, the boxes had fallen and their contents scattered.
Her limited recovery from the stroke meant that the contents of the boxes were never returned to their rightful place and most of the memories were gone forever.
As I tidy the shelves of my filing system and make room for the new memories I am making everyday, I look at these old and tattered boxes and hope there will never be a time that I can't take them down and have a peep inside at the memories of my life.
P.S. Since writing this I have added a new box to my shelf, it is pink and very pretty and marked, " Abigail" who is my new granddaughter. I will fill this box with so many happy memories of her growing up and hope that she too will have a box on the shelf in her mind where she will store her memories of me.
Dec 2015 Update : Another bright shiney box has been added called Katie's box my second granddaughter is just turning two. My brother I spoke about sadly passed away last year and his memories are now stored. Sam the German Shepherd also passed away a few months ago and his memories are with the other three dogs. There is now a white lace box in my memory store with the wedding memories of my daughter and new son in law. Wonderful memories.
I have memories of the house we lived in for most of our married life and I'm now making new memories and new friends on the other side of the city.
I still look through these memories before falling asleep which is probably why I'm awake half the night but I just can't help myself.