Memento Mori Stories
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Memento mori is Latin for "remember you will die", and encompasses the centuries old theory and practice of reflection on mortality.

Memento Mori Stories are reflections on our own and our loved ones’ mortality, and how we are coping with grief and loss. From the depths of fear, pain and denial can come deep gifts of connection, appreciation, and peace. These poignant and personal stories reflect on such questions as: How do we remember those we have loved? What are the things we keep, the phrases we use, the foods we prepare, the places that are special?

Memento Mori Stories – remembering that we will die, and that life is to be cherished, noticed, and lived fully.

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    Sno, Dog Ambassador

    He was also a dog, that I think he took very seriously his mission of being a Dog Ambassador. By that I mean, if there was ever a person who came to see us who either didn’t like dogs, was afraid of him, wasn’t sure they wanted a dog in their home, he would win them over. There was a party that I gave one time for my book club, and Sno came and he found the two women out of 12 of us who did not have dogs, one of them was a little bit afraid, and he was so sweet – both of those women now have dogs and they’ll be the first ones to tell you it’s because of my dog. He was just so outgoing and sweet and not intrusive, but of course he would let you rub his head. So that’s a large part of the memory of him is he did impact a lot of lives that way.

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    Visiting Grandpa

    We would go to the beach as well, and my older sister would tan very well; me not so much. My grandfather didn’t realize that at first, you know, how strong the sun was, when we first went down there. Of course my grandparents felt awful about how sunburned I got, and I actually had like blisters on my nose. They would lather me up in Noxzema, all over my face and my arms and my legs, and I would sit there with them, cause every evening we would play a card game which was so much fun. It was called S.O.B., which means, you know, Son of a Bitch. We just had a blast. We would play cards for like maybe four hours. It’s like that time warp, you know, where you feel like it was just like yesterday, but we’re talking, gosh, forty years ago now. I’m looking forward to seeing them again, being with them. I know they are always with me, too, I know, you know they’re so dear to my heart.

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    Anita's Ring

    When I look at the ring, I remember Anita as in the past, as she was, but it reminds me of the joy she brought me in the present. I can be having one of those crappy days where I’m missing her terribly, and I look at the ring and it just gives me a warm feeling of remembering her. It’s a symbol of her being with me always, as long as I’m wearing it. It reminds me of what an amazing person my daughter was, and how she showed me to appreciate life. It’s a rather glitzy ring, something I wouldn’t normally have worn, but I think because it’s so shiny and bright, it makes me see life kind of through Anita’s eyes, that life is wonderful. And it just reminds me of that.

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    Many Memories

    Memories are so visceral and subjective and what the observer remembers and their place, I mean it’s just so complex and complicated, and it’s how one chooses to hold the memory. So there are both good memories and bad memories in life, and the good memories – like when I looked at the linen tablecloth, it was joyous! And I felt more loved and more appreciated for who I was. She was never trying to make me be someone I wasn’t, and there are other memories I have with objects that I might see or whatever that would trigger not so great memories about other people in my life. It’s about choosing your relationship to the memory and how you hold the memory and whether you allow it to have power over you or whether you can transform your relationship to the memory without negating the memory.

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    Clouds and Joy

    My mother was a very joyful woman; she had just a joy of living and she found joy in a lot of little simple things in life. And she would get so excited just like a little child. As she got older and I was taking care of her, we used to go for rides at sunset and look at the clouds, and she got so overjoyed at these sunsets and the brightness of the clouds, and the more clouds the prettier the sunset. And so every time now when I see a cloud, particularly a white big fluffy cloud, I will think of her and think about how joyful she was and how excited she would get over just a simple cloud. And look how fast they’re moving, and oh they’re not moving at all. Look at the top ones they’re moving one way and the bottom ones are moving another way. And she would get so excited.

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    Charm Bracelet

    Having three daughters I think might have thrown him, because you think of so many men really wanting a son, and to do this, it was the gentler side of him. It was a side that he didn’t often show us so maybe for that reason it means even more to me than it might ordinarily seem. He also would tease us and say that if we were ever in desperate need and needed money we could pawn our bracelets. We never have. I never will.

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    Pop's Ladder

    I have a ladder that’s a smaller ladder. It’s probably more like 3 ½ feet tall. It’s splattered with paint; one of the shelf things is just, you know, kind of, the staples have come out and it’s pushed to the side, and it reminds me of him because my memory is of him, you know, always being able to fix something or paint it. We never had repair people, we only had him; and he didn’t read directions. He just was able to intuitively do things and it was so comforting to have him.

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    The interesting thing about this ring is silver tends to tarnish, but either through wearing it since 1975 or so to now, it’s never tarnished. It’s always stayed a bright silver. And when I look at it it reminds me of my cultural upbringing, and those relatives who I met once but have really not seen again. So I would say that it both was given to me as a gift and therefore later on I ended up choosing it as something that would be a reminder that I would keep with me for the rest of my life.

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    18 Arkell St.

    But the reason I wanted to talk about the house is the incredible significance of the structure itself to me, which I didn’t appreciate or I didn’t understand so much until now that it doesn’t belong to our family. What really strikes me now that we’re not in that house is the actual structure and how familiar every nook and cranny of that house is and that it’s no longer physically available to me. It’s been just really emotional to think that that is no longer in my life.

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    Aunt Erma's Ring

    So I loved my Aunt Erma. I loved her intellectual curiosity. I loved that she was so cosmopolitan within her city of New York. And I loved that she was interested in me. So when I was given her ring for my birthday, I was thrilled..... I feel loss but I also feel like she’s close to me. She represents that it’s okay to be a strong and intelligent professional woman, and that’s a huge role model for me so I’ve always sort of felt that she was still around me

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