The Concept of Future in Memory

It’s almost  a week now since I read an excellent article by Julia Molony entitled ‘ Breaking Bragg’  in last week’s Life Supplement of the Sunday Independent here in Ireland.

It relates to Melvyn Bragg whose  stunning book, The Adventure of English,  had totally engaged me a few years ago. I confess that I knew little or nothing about Melvyn Bragg’s life until I read the article last weekend and one particular point that he made in the interview has been rattling around in my head all week.

He was talking about the death of his mother at the age of 95, almost a year ago,  and the article ends as follows:

And, of course, there is great future in memory, he goes on. ” My mother is secure, in the future, in my memory. And she’ll be secure in my children’s memories. And  although she might fade in their memories. I’ll be secure in their memories and I’ll carry that memory and it will pass on like that. So there  is that sort of future, which is interesting to think about.”

Yes, it is interesting to think about especially as ‘future’ and ‘memory’ can seem like proverbial ‘apples and oranges’ which just don’t  fit in the same box.

But, for me, anyway, Melvyn Bragg’s words resonated completely especially as they relate to how I  feel about my late parents.  I tend to use the word ‘presence’ a lot to try to convey how I feel that loved one’s who have died remain with us, through their legacy of love, sayings, humour, passions, uniqueness. But I’m wondering now if Melvyn Bragg has summed this up in a much better way?

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

11 thoughts on “The Concept of Future in Memory”

  1. I do not think that he has summed it up any better than you at all!. We have always had a saying that ‘loved ones will live on in our hearts’ – and isn’t it simply a reworking of the the same thing? Although I am not a fan of memorial cards, they very often express the same sentiment in very simple terms, ‘Gone to the next room’ ‘Just a thought away’, ‘Treasured memories of’ etc. I think that when touched very deeply we find words to try to express what we feel, but each set is as valid as the other, just as for aeons poets have had different takes on Love. I heard Melvynn Bragg’s fascinating talk with Marian Finucane recently in which he spoke about his mother, their relationship and her Alzheimers. I like your way of putting it !

    1. Hi SV, great to hear from you and I’m blushing at the idea that you could possibly think I could express anything as well as Melvyn Bragg! I think the bit that impressed me most in what he said related to the word ‘secure,’ given the extent to which loss is so often equated with a sense of ‘insecurity’ and feeling like the world is all wobbly.

      I didn’t know MB was on the Marian Finucane programme. Will have to go in search of a recording of that. Thanks for drawing my attention to it!

      P.S. I’m not a fan of memorial cards either.

  2. I too “feel that loved one’s who have died remain with us, through their legacy of love, sayings, humour, passions, uniqueness”. Wonderful post.

  3. My grandmother is the one of the people that I feel is a presence in my life. My daughters never met her in life but in memories they know her well.

    1. DJ, thanks for writing on ‘presence’ which is so special to me.
      Like your daughters, I feel that I know both my grandfathers very well through memories passed on by my parents.

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