A book that I finished yesterday included a phrase that has remained with me and will continue to do so. It appears in various forms throughout the internet but the gist of it is that the heart remembers those details and experiences that the brain forgets. This is a powerful statement, especially if you have experienced a tragedy that you cannot remember in detail.

What types of experiences or memories does the brain delete? My guess is that these are events that include pain, loss, tragedy, or any type of situation that is equated with sadness or trauma. After an accident many years ago where I was tossed from a horse, I asked my physician why I was unable to remember many of the details. At that time, I was told that it’s common for the brain to block those events or circumstances that we find tragic or painful.

When asked why I am so dedicated to researching and documents of the Shoah (Holocaust), I often reply that the world must never forget the atrocities of Nazi Germany. Many of the details that I have acquired about the Shoah have been filed away somewhere in my brain for when they are needed; but my heart will never stop hurting for the unspeakable events that took place.

And so it goes for those loved ones whom we have lost. We may remember days or moments spent with that person but our hearts have competently captured enduring feelings. It is probably a good thing that we are unable to remember specifics about those events or crises that were important to our lives. At the same time, I am grateful for the memories of good times, evidence of shared love, and an aura of comfort associated with that person or people.

Trust your heart to remember what you brain does not. Some of what remains in our hearts is soothing and provides solace. May your memories be sources of blessings and comfort. Shalom.

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