Looking Again at Life’s Brevity, a Reboot

I have had a good memory. It got me through 24 years as a student, an intern and a resident. That was largely the work of short term memory, something we all start losing, noticeably, at different rates in middle age.

We can retain more of long term memory even into our waning years.It is that long term memory that allowed me to write three books of memoir and many of these blogs. Those memories are precious to me.

That long term memory means I can remember playing outside with a boyhood friend at four. I can remember my first plane flight at the same age. That makes the trip through one’s life seem to have occured at warp speed.

One can couple that with how five years appears to you at 70 as opposed how it appears at ten years of age. It seems a much shorter fragment in old age.

Knowing how quickly it flies by for me makes my life sweeter in my old age. Yes, there are aches and pains. Yes, I don’t hear nearly as well. Yes, my healthcare requires greater care. But, each new day, through God’s grace is filled with light and breath and love.


“Conversation is the legs on which thought walks; and writing, the wings by which it flies.” Marguerite Gardiner, a 19th-century Irish novelist.

I spent perhaps thousands of hours engrossed in conversation with my dear, late mom. I remember her wisdom, her kindness and her deep love for all three of us siblings.

But while all of this was fresh in my mind and she was still alive, I wrote her a letter to express as best I could my gratitude and my love for her. Thank God, the letter had wings. 

She never forgot those words. Every now and then she would tell me how much the letter meant to her. I cannot express to you how deeply thankful I am for having put how I felt to flight.