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I was chatting online with my youngest daughter.

“Your blog posting on Peter Brock made me cry,” she wrote.

“Did it really? Why?”

“I didn’t know that stuff about Nat seeing him [Peter Brock] again at Bathurst and him remembering her … it just brought back lots of memories … of the time we had, Nat, how awesome Peter Brock was … EVERYTHING,” she wrote back.

In that moment I was glad I had written the blog post. The time I was writing about was a difficult time in our lives and yet at the same time it was a time of growth for all of us as we learnt about surviving when the chips are down. We managed to rise above it all – together – as a team. We experienced things we wouldn’t wish on anyone else. As a result my children and I developed an incredibly close relationship. My children were, and still are, my life.

The following day I was home sick in bed with a really bad cold. The phone rang – it was my oldest daughter.

“Hi mama, great posting on Peter Brock.”

“Thanks,” I replied.

“How did you remember all that stuff about Natalie?” she asked.

“I can see it all happening in front of me now,” I replied. “It is a very vivid memory and the newspaper article made me think about it again.”

“Didn’t you remember the thing that happened to us with Peter that day?” she asked.

“You mean how he ended a telephone conversation he was having when he saw us leaving to go home so he could say good-bye to us,” I said.

“Yes” said my daughter.

I continued … “And how he ignored everyone else that was flocking around.”

“Yes,” she repeated.

“And how he hugged Mira and said she reminded him of his daughter Alexandra,” I said.

“Yes” was the response again.

“I didn’t forget,” I said “I just made a decision that I couldn’t write about everything I remembered.”

I realised in that moment that a vivid memory I had from that time was not the same vivid memory my daughters had. Each of us came away with our own version of what happened that day. This is the wonder of being human.

Memories are representations based on our unique interpretation and understanding of a time, place, person, or event. Sharing memories with others can have its ups and downs. Every time you share your memory someone will undoubtedly have a different interpretation based on their own memories. We use our senses to remember things we want to remember. We embellish these memories with new information we are exposed to after the event. The original memory never stays pure because we don’t live in a vacuum. As time passes and different things become important to us we forget some details. Often we need reminders of some kind to jog our memories.

Are memories accurate? Does it even matter in most commonplace circumstances?

Seeing with different eyes, thinking with different brains, accepting each individual’s interpretation is all part of the process of creating memories. We use this information to tell our stories.

Keep creating memories, keep sharing them, and be prepared that whatever you create may only be a temporary artefact – it will be around long enough to serve its purpose.

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