Do you ever think of me? Memories & Ensoulment.

Do you ever think of me? Memories & ensoulment.

There’s a common belief that objects and possessions are just ‘things’ and that we should not be attached to the items we own. It’s trotted out as a platitude when people are struggling to de-clutter; minimalism is the current fashion both in terms of home décor and also for literature. Free yourself of the clutter than holds you down, holds you back and binds you to the past, we are exhorted. You’ll feel so much better when you chuck it all onto a skip and be rid of it.
Maybe so.
I don’t know. I find it incredibly hard to part with things and I tend towards being a bit of a hoarder if truth be told. It comes in part of growing up with post-war parents who themselves grew up with make-do-and-mend as a deep seated philosophy. When my father boarded the loft he did so with old pallets he pulled apart for the planks; the nails he extracted were straightened and put away in jars to reuse. It also comes of placing great value on kindness and gratitude. Christmas gifts were treasured and kept, and in the case of toys and clothes, passed on when we’d outgrown them.
I was looking for a particular item this morning, going through the various small boxes of jewellery to locate something, and it set me wandering into the past.
The cameo pendant my best friend gave me for a birthday gift a few years before she died aged just seventeen.
The little gold necklace my South African pen friend sent me one Christmas when I was in my early teens.
A little wooden brooch shaped like a tadpole I bought in Yorkshire when I went away with my youth group when I was eighteen.
A small enamel stick pin I bought at a school fete when I was twelve.
The crystal pendant I bought when I went to see a healer about twelve years ago.
My charm bracelet, complete with a dazzling display of unique silver charms, all with their own story to tell.
The sunburst badge give me by my poet friend Stephen, the dedication on the reverse blurred by time and rain.
I could go on. Each item is more to me than a shiny bauble now. I pick them up and the dead speak. The lost wave to me across the years. I see my All Shall be Well medal from the Julian Shrine and I remember the one I gave to someone who disappeared and I wonder: do you ever think of me? I look at the gifts of school friends and I wonder: do you ever think of me? I look at the gold baby bracelet my grandmother gave me when I was born and I ask: do you ever think of me?
I think of the gifts I have given over my life time and I know that there’s probably relatively few that are still intact, still owned by the person I gave them to, but I still sometimes wonder: do you ever think of me?
Some might shudder at being so bound to both the living, the dead and the missing yet for me, that these objects hold memories binds me to this life with threads of loving fondness. While someone thinks of you in a kind manner, I believe that somehow we feel it. The reverse is also true, sadly. That’s why some things are best passed on, but with care and love for the fragment of soul that resides in things does not deserve to be treated without respect.
I don’t do give-aways as such, the way many authors do, sending out signed copies of books, and book-swag, but I want to do a very different give away. I have a collection of trinkets, pendants and the like, more than one person could ever wear. It’s time some moved on so they might be loved by a new person. If you would like a piece of my collection, comment here about why and what you would like (there are no diamonds or gold involved!) and I’ll try and select a piece to send. You could also email me ( see the Contact me page). These are not things of any great value, in monetary terms, but I’d like to hope that once given, the receiver may sometimes look at them and think of me with fondness in years to come.
(The specific items mentioned are not up for grabs as such, but I was giving them as examples. I’m intending to choose intuitively from the collection when someone expresses an interest. There’s crystals I used to wear during the time when I did reflexology and other forms of healing as well as various pieces I made myself or collected or was given. All items have memory and story attached to them.)

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11 thoughts on “Do you ever think of me? Memories & Ensoulment.

  1. Your post resonated. We have been deep into the disruptive business of redecorating, just as traumatic as moving house but without going anywhere. We had to empty rooms for new carpets and painting throughout and the inevitable ‘do we need this’ came up many times? Often the answer was no, and the Salvation Army scored a heap of clothes, shoes, furniture and bits and bobs. Now it’s all done, certainly less pictures will go back on the walls, but it’s hard. Very few of my pictures are meaningless pretty prints. There’s the watercolour I bought in Amsterdam, framed photos I took in Beijing, Delft and the Murchison River in WA, the print I bought at Mont Martre, the watercolour of the Swan River in Perth… etc etc. And yes, the memories come flooding back. I don’t have many items such as those you mentioned. They’re back in a past life, things I left behind to make a new future. But I understand what you said. It’s a nice thought to share your memories but I’ll not raise my hand. Better you do that with those closer to you. Hugs.

    • Thanks Greta. We’ve moved so often that a lot of things have been left behind or passed on anyway but all bigger things. I’m trying to go through my life steadily from now on and let the things go that need to go but not be ruthless and strip my world of its memories.
      I have some Christmas tree decs given to me from the friend who vanished and let me down very badly. I’d like to pass them on because I cannot bring myself to hang them on a Christmas tree ever again. There’s nothing wrong with them (though I suspect they were probably half-inched in the first place) but each time I look at them, it brings up angry memories. It’s those kind of things I need to let go, but respectfully.
      Glad you are getting sorted. xx

  2. Yes, it did strike a chord with me. I believe that anything associated with strong emotion retains some of those vibrations. It doesn’t even have to be a solid object. It can be a snatch of a song that my mother used to sing while peeling potatoes.
    I can’t de-clutter. That might be like you because I was brought up on treasure, repair, make-do-and-mend. It could also have something to do with moving around so much in my life and being forced to de-clutter.
    My desk as I write this is strewn with objects that are valuable to me – including the hag stone you sent me. A bracelet from another writer friend. A special necklace created for me by a friend in America who I’ll probably never see face to face but who sent me healing in those stones.
    Even a very cheap base metal ring with a bit of coloured glass that my husband bought me at a market for a few pence just because it looked “me”.
    I’m a hoarder of memories and emotions.
    And like you – if I have a bad memory of someone I cannot use or bear to look at things they gave me. A whole dinner service became unusable because of the attitude of the man who sold it to me in the bric a brac shop.

  3. I have very similar thoughts when I find things with my metal detector. I know it’s considered a nerdish and geeky hobby by many but finding something such as a thousand year old coin and wondering about the circumstances of its loss and the consequences for the person who lost it never fails to get my mind ticking over. Although, unlike with your trinkets, there is no personal association for me and the loser would never have thought of me it is always an extremely evocative feeling and I certainly think of them.

  4. iHaving moved internationally twice – Canada to New Zealand, NZ to Scotland, I was forced to throw out, give away or leave behind many things. I found this very difficult, especially when it came to my books and have ended up re-purchasing many of them. Fortunately, small items don’t weigh much and I was able to hold onto many of them, however, I still feel wistful for certain pieces. At one time, I had a friend who was a gold and silversmith and he created some beautiful tiny horses. We fell out and I gave them away to friends. Now I regret the callous way I disregarded his gifts and hope that these objects are still treasured by whoever owns them now. On the other hand, if someone admires something I have, I often just give it to them, to bring them happiness or see them smile. So conflicting ideas there I suppose!

  5. Dear Viv – you are a bit of a hoarder? Shock horror! 😉 I wish I was. A cleared life can sometimes feel too cold, as if, in giving away small tokens of esteem, we are casually discarding the love that they brought to us. I have moved countless times, and can be a bit cruel about what I call ‘stuff’, though I find it hard to be relaxed or creative if the house is too full of bits and pieces.

    You have the right approach, I think, and your fond memories and hopes are really love offerings. Of course these are heard, understood and appreciated.

    Thank you for a lovely post! XXX :))

  6. My father, a widower, passed away last November in Canada. I moved to England 19 years ago, and while my brothers are kind enough to post me the trinkets and knick knacks that wouldn’t fit in my suitcase there were so many more little items I wanted to take. The majority remind me of my mother, who passed away 14 years ago. Nothing has any true monetary value, but they hold so many memories that the are precious to me.

    I have moved internationally several times and have often had to part with things I would rather have kept. Sentimental items have also been lost over the years, much to my dismay. Several of these are items given to me by friends with whom I lost contact years ago, and, like you, I sometimes wonder if they ever think of me the way I think of them.

  7. I have a lot of things…so very much stuff. But so much hold memories. Today I was wearing a penny [old penny] enamelled, that I saved up for and bought when I was about 8. I’ve recently found some photos from then incl the two sisters whose family made it.
    I’ve been looking at some books from my childhood and teens and wondering what to do with them. I’m thinking of giving them to children of friends. But how many do they need?!
    Oh and christmas decorations – I have so many. I buy some [old, sometimes new] but I know which were from my childhood…but one day I’llnot be here….
    I’d like to reduce my belongings. I keep thinking about what someone would have to deal with when I die.

  8. Your post was indeed evocative! Moving houses many times have not left me with much in terms of clutter and such sweet memorabilia. But your words made me remember the small things which had made life special for a young me. Each Christmas, maybe 35 years ago, we used to bring out the whole nativity characters and construct the scene faithfully. The small figurines were very un-Indianlooking, which added to their specialness! Slowly, after each of us moved away, the custom died out. I wonder sometimes about the figurines, though, as to what happened to them. The whole ritual, including hanging a paper star with an electric bulb rigged up inside on the nearest tree, made Christmas very special!

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