Lingering Memories

Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2021 by Kelly Maida

Photo by Peter Herrmann on Unsplash
                                                      Photo by Peter Herrmann on Unsplash

We never can pick or choose the memories that linger in our mind. If only it were that easy. Memories are like songs playing on repeat sometimes. But unfortunately we canít pick and choose the songs on our memories playlist. I only have one memory of my uncle Mark. I was three years old and I remember him playing the Eagles song called life in the fast lane. I remember I couldnít say fast lane. I kept saying play gasoline, play gasoline. I really wish I had more memories of him. He died shortly after that memory. I do however have a couple beautiful photos with him. That is the great thing about photos: they can treasure our memories. A month before my uncle Mark died, my grandmother died. Which was my uncle Markís mother and my momís mother. I unfortunately do not have any memories of her. I wish I did. I wish we could just pick and choose the memories that we have. I can only see her in photographs and listen to stories about her. My mom told me that my grandmother used to babysit me everyday and I always went to her house. She said I always wanted to be at my grandmaís house. We lived across the street from her. I learned how to push a chair to the door and unlock it and run out the door and across the street to grandmaís at 2 or 3 years old. I told my mom that I'm nervous that people will leave and not come back. My mom thinks it could have started when my grandma Joan died. My mom said I didnít take the news well when my grandma died. Probably because I was only 3. I did not understand where she went. And why she had to go away. So I took her picture and held it to my chest and rocked back and forth in my little rocking chair. I always wondered if my grandma and uncle Mark were still alive, how different would life be? My grandmother that died her name was Joan. I donít know much of her background, just that she was French or partly French. I am not sure of the percentage. Her husband decided years later to stop talking to my mom and our side of the family. He never said why. From what I was told, his parents stopped talking to him too. I wonder if this was something passed down in the genes. I was told by a medium that my uncle Mark and grandma Joan watch over me from heaven. That made me feel very comforted. One psychic went as far to say that whenever any song from the Eagles is on it is my Uncle Markís way of saying hello to me and to let me know that he is watching over me.

I do have some fond memories of my great grandpa Agostino. He spoke fluent Italian and English as well. He was born in Italy but moved to America when he was in his 20ís I think. I remember how much fun I had at his house. He would always try to teach me Italian. He would always stop by our house and bring me Ice cream. Sundayís were always a big deal at his house or my Uncle Saverioís. My great grandpa even loved coming to my birthday parties. I remember one time my parents had a party that was just kids but my grandpa said I want to come. He never missed a birthday. He even taught me how to eat spaghetti the Italian way. He was definitely the glue of the Maida family. When he died it seemed like everyone split apart. The big Sunday dinners stopped. There was friction in the family. Family arguing over my grandpaís belongings. I was young, I must have been 11 at the time. I remember the last time I saw my uncle Joe and Aunt Re drive by me waving in the car. The first funeral that I remember going to was my Uncle Saverioís and I think I was around 7 at the time. It really freaked me out seeing him in the casket. I remember crying. And someone looked at me and said why are you crying?'' That was when I wondered if we were supposed to hold our feelings in. Or did I have the right to cry for him? I was so confused. So I started to wonder if only weak people cried. And I tried to not cry anymore. But the more I held back my tears, the more they just wanted to flow out. Another really tough time for me is when my Poppy Maida died. I was 16 when he died. But I thought of him as my dad. He treated me like a princess. He was someone that everyone wanted to know. Everyone loved him. And he always had a smile on his face. He always told funny jokes. I used to cry to my parents so that I could go and visit my Nonnie and Poppy. He had a house in the 1000 Islands. I used to love going there as a kid. I remember always having so much fun with them. What shocked me the most is the call that came when he died.

We literally just left his house earlier that day. I freaked out. The first thing I thought to turn to was alcohol. I turned to alcohol at a young age. I had to be 12. Alcohol was something at one point that I thought that I could always turn to. And it was always there for me. It helped me forget, at least for a while. It helped me numb the pain. But alcohol eventually turned on me too. When I realized I had trouble with it. It made me sick most of the time. That was something else I had to say goodbye to. However, that was a beautiful goodbye. Deep down I never liked alcohol. It was just a distraction. It took me a long time to see that. Back to my grandfather. He was another person that I did not get to say goodbye to. One thing that my Poppy taught me was to never say goodbye. Because Goodbyes are just too final. So we never did say goodbye when we parted. We always said Ciao to each other or Arriverderci. Arriverderci in Italian means goodbye. But he was right. Saying goodbye does sound so final. So I guess even if I had the chance we would not have said goodbye to each other. However I still wish that I was there when it was his time to go. The list goes on as far as people I did not get to say goodbye too. My grandmother Maida is on that list. I was 8 months pregnant and living in Georgia at the time when she passed. She was in New York. I was on bed rest as well for this pregnancy. The cord was wrapped around my daughter's neck and I had to be careful. It was a very stressful pregnancy. My daughter was born safely. However she was born with the cord wrapped around her neck. She was blue for the first two minutes. When I didnít hear her cry, I panicked. I kept yelling to let me see her. Let me see her. And they said not yet. Then I heard her beautiful cry. And then all the difficulties and 18 hours of painful labor made it all worth it. I did get to talk to my grandmother Maida on the phone and she sounded good and I was so hopeful that she would get better. I did not realize just how bad she was. Until she passed away a few days after I spoke to her. I wish I could have seen her.

The whole reason that I brought up memories is because there are just some memories that I adore and they are my happy place. However, some memories I just wish to forget. Like I mentioned earlier, wouldnít it be wonderful if we could pick and choose our memories? And erase some. It is possible from what I read to rewire your brain. I am still working at this. I do find the more you stay away from negative situations and people it helps.

I am sure you know what I mean we all have those memories that haunt us. Going to a funeral for a loved one. Or being betrayed by someone. Being attacked by someone. Do you ever think to yourself what if I didnít talk to that person. Or what if I stayed home that day. Or if I went to that place that day. What if I listened to my gut instincts and didn't get married. I wrote a short story on Forgiveness. The story is how a man that I thought I could trust almost killed me. Sometimes I can still see the images of him attacking me from behind. He waited until my back was turned. Why does it seem that the memories that we donít want still linger in our mind? Some pictures we can rip up but the memory stays etched in our minds. And you wish you could just burn that memory or rip it out of your mind. As a child I was hit so hard that I had blacked out a few times. When I mention it now to people, they say well I thought that when you were little it was just a couple of times you were hit or other excuses. I remember unfortunately and it was a lot more than just a couple of times. When your young violence doesnít make sense. So I thought that I must of done something wrong to get beat. It is unfortunate that people do not realize the ramifications of physical abuse and the effects that it leaves on people. As well as mental abuse. I had no idea that this was not a way to live. This was life for me. This is how I grew up. So letís just say as I grew up, I did not make the best choices in men.

You know I go to counseling to talk about all of the memories that haunt me. Does it help me? Somedays I feel that it does and other days I just wonder if it is working. I think you just have to find the right counselor. I keep switching to different counselors. Nowadays it seems like everyone is damaged, even counselors. It is so hard to meet someone who is not damaged. And to this I mean people in general. To be honest it is hard meeting good people. I had a counselor yell at me. I said something about what I was going through and asked her about a program. I asked why she didnít tell me about it. I triggered her wounds. Sometimes I feel that we all just trigger each other. I guess if we can see why we are being triggered we can get to the root of the problem. I know my triggers now. That does not mean they are gone. But at least I know what they are. You never really know what someone is going through.

I walked on egg shells for most of my life. Always afraid of upsetting someone. This gets really old after a while. So that stopped. I distanced myself and cut ties with toxic people. When I started seeing counselorís they told me everything that I have learned, I need to unlearn. Especially trusting everyone. And they taught me terms such as toxicity and boundaries. Sometimes I feel like the real therapist is my writing. When I write about my experiences, I can express what I feel. Writing is my outlet. Maybe it is a way for me to process my feelings. Maybe I am releasing my feelings. Like I said earlier, I never really knew as a kid how to deal with death or domestic violence. People really have a hard time relating to you if they never walked in your shoes.

Letís just say I have been going through everything alone. I am not complaining by any means. I think tough times show you peopleís true colors. Which is a good thing. They also say tough times make tough people. I am a completely different person now. I really donít even talk to people now. Just tired from all the crap that people have put me through. I try to stay positive but the reality in my eyes everyone is out for themselves. I used to help everyone. But now I decided to be a hermit.

I always believed the best in people. I lived in my own world. Creating beautiful stories in my head.

Fairytales are beautiful. I wrote one. I really do love them. But donít live there. I stayed in my own world most of my life. Until I had to face the truth. Not everyone has good intentions. Evil does exist. You have to see the truth in people. Even though the truth is not always pretty. You canít just see what you want to see. Or walk around with rose colored glasses. As I have said before, not everyone is the same as you. Not everyone has good intentions. I am back to living in my own world. But this time I am not disillusioned or living in a fairy tale. I keep to myself. Now I see the dangers of people and how their wounds can spill on to you. It is like a domino effect. One damaged person makes another person damaged. So how do you stop this from happening? Not everyone is welcome in my life anymore. Not everyone deserves your time. I want to be around positive people. And people that I feel safe being around. I am an empath. A sensitive person that can easily pick up the energy of others. To be honest I do not trust people anymore. Not sure if I ever will again. The only person I really trust is god. And just like Tupac said ďOnly god can judge meĒ.

Contact Kelly

(Unless you type the author's name
in the subject line of the message
we won't know where to send it.)

Kelly's story list and biography

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher