I am told the older you get. the more you forget. Is this true or even possible? I mean we have all forgotten where we put our phone, what day it is after a long weekend and even sworn we told our husband that important bit of information we were thinking. Right? I know I have done all of those things at one time or another. I don’t remember being as forgetful in my younger years. Now, at the age of 49 it is more than just a Post-it note here and there. It is the ability to remember and process things the way I did in the past.

For me this did not start until after I lost my son, Tyler, in a car accident on August 23, 2013. I remember this so well, it was a week after the funeral that I ventured out to Wal-Mart with a small list of things. Once I got into the store, I realized I could not remember where to find some of the items. It was at this point that I had no desire to ask or energy to search. So I just left with the few things I could come up with. Was this forgetfulness from old age or trauma from losing a child?

You see I believe our memory is a gift of all the special moments, not so great moments and really terrible moments in our life. I am curious and amazed how our minds work. Our minds collect all of those moments, categorize them, and then file them in the backs of our minds. Once that is done, our minds will bring them to the surface as they see fit. Many times they spring up when we least expect them.

Since Tyler’s accident, I have realized as much as I want to delete some memories. I CAN NOT. I have to weave through all the memories, especially the vivid ones from the night of the accident. As crazy as it sounds, I feel as though I received a gift from God as he planned out that night. I feel blessed to have been with my husband as he held Tyler. I know for a fact there are countless others who did not get to say goodbye, to say I love you or just hold their child. The gift that I received that night I try to unwrap cautiously to endure the pain and heartbreaking memories that come with it.

As much as I want to forget, there is a part of me that cannot. You see, if I forget the bad, I will also forget the good. All the precious memories after Tyler was born, his raggedy old cowboy hat he wore all the time, his amazing smile; when I close my eyes I can hear his voice as if it were yesterday and pray I will never forget his one-of-a-kind laugh that would always make me smile. Oh, I remember it all. As the years pile up since his accident, it scares me that my memory will fail to keep all of my treasures perfectly categorized in my head. There are still days when I process a normal, everyday situation or planning a detailed event that I am not as sharp or on-point like I was before the accident. I attribute this to the loss of a child, not old age. I believe our minds do not work the same.

I have realized all the memories I have been given are gifts from God. So as I sit here writing this, I am reminded that I am still alive! I still have an abundance of precious memories, memories that will strengthen me, and some heartbreaking that encourage me to keep telling my story. I thank God for all of them! My story is not over and I cannot image what lies ahead, but I know each day is a gift and we must live it as if it is our last. For today’s moments are tomorrow’s memories.

Missy Hillmer

Kiley Hillner lives in Texas with her husband and two beautiful daughters. She works full time and recently graduated with her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is loving life and embracing the chaotic beauty of motherhood. You can find more of her thoughts on this parenting gig on her blog and on Facebook.