Memory Funerals

I realised my email account might start running out of space and I think about deleting some old emails. It turns out I have emails going back eight years. Conversations about meeting up with people for lunch, exchanges with my ex and money we have in the joint account, Mum sending me information about a dishwasher… 

I’m not sad not to have a dishwasher (living on a narrowboat is it would be pretty ridiculous although I’m sure some manage it), and I’m definitely not sad about the ex being an ex. But in the emails you can only read the good stuff – not how I was feeling when I wrote them or read his – and I wasn’t expecting that. And then there are the emails with friends – before the days of WhatsApp – arranging to meet for lunch, weekends away, all the nice things in life. All the pre-ill days. 

And then there are the real life memories. I walked through Coventry city centre where I used to live and work a few months ago and felt a wave of emotion wash over me; for all the hopes and dreams I had for working in the city; for the relationships I’d made; for the ones yet to be made. I thought I could continue to build my life there and through those relationships, bring about positive change.

With change there is loss and, unlike death, the path of grief seems even less laid out. There is no clear end, no idea of what those memories wanted you to do with them once they are over. How do we release these memories in celebration, without the sadness overwhelming us? I suppose it is like standard grief, in that it will fade with time, and yet remain part of us.

This is a sad post, because sometimes reflecting makes us sad. I do not shy away; I turn towards this grief and for once do not find a positive spin. I will sit with this experience and have my own funeral for the memories I feel sad about, the ones I cannot come close to recreating and stay in my mind; for better or for worse, through ill health and onto the next chapter.


  1. What can I say, Naomi, but ‘Well done’ with being open about where you are at the moment? Being sad is the new normal for an enormous number of our fellow citizens and, quite apart from the current Covid-19 situation, so many people don’t/can’t acknowledge their real sadness and feelings about loss. Those memories of hopes and expectations in Coventry days aren’t invalid, just because your life has perforce gone in a different direction. Thank you for being you and for being my god-daughter, despite my inadequacies as your godmother. But it’s Friday and so I’m thinking of you and praying for you, as I do every Friday. So you’re not forgotten and I’m so glad to be in indirect touch with you through reading A Boat Time. Hope you’re coping with enforced land life and finding some ways to find the peace and calming beauty of life aboard.

    warm love to you,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a lovely comment from Lou! I’m astonished that you have emails going back eight years: I delete everything within six months, unless I have good reason to keep it, in which case, a copy goes into a folder on my hard drive. But then, I have a librarian’s desire to keep everything in order. I can understand your feeling sad about things long gone, and it’s not surprising, the way your life has done such an about-turn. Grieve, by all means, then be thankful for what was good, be relieved that the bad no longer obtains, and feel enriched by all your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank s for your latest blog , Naomi. It might be just a little shorter than some others but is densely packed, and every sentence needs careful reading. In fact I’ve read the whole text 3 times before venturing to comment.
    There seemed to me an undertow of sadness throughout your piece. References to ‘all the pre-ill days’ and when speaking of memories ‘no idea what they wanted you to with them when they are over’. This is bound to have an impact on anyone who is close to you, but it is hugely to your credit that you have described these emotions.
    I wonder, if I may say so -and as one who has plenty of memories to process – whether you are seeing events and memories as the same thing. The everyday conversations of 8 years ago are gone but you may, or may not retain memories of these events. Unlike houseroom for dishwashers memories have no definable storage requirement !
    Thanks also for the photo attachment . Forget-me-nots , I wonder ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right about the sadness – I had a short moment of it where I just happened to have my laptop in front of me and wrote it all in about five minutes! And then almost didn’t punish it because of it. But it seems to have struck a chord so I feel glad I have.
      You’re right about the flowers 🙂


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