โ€œEvery man has two deaths, when he is buried in the ground and the last time someone says his name. In some ways men can be immortal.โ€

โ€• Ernest Hemingway

I'm something of an archivist. I have a unique, priceless collection in the sense that no amount of money can replace it. My archive is family photos.

Often when someone dies, their family will take the deceased furniture, briefcases, or jewelry to remember them by. I can appreciate the sentimentality behind keeping these objects, but they don't do much for me. To me a person isn't the table they ate on, or the clothes that they wore, but their memories. Sadly it seems most memories die with us but some live on in the minds of those who experienced them with us - a shared memory. I suppose objects can be imbued with shared memories for those that care about keeping them. There's another kind of memory that doesn't require the person to have been an active participant in it to be passed on, which is the primary focus of this entry, and in some sense this whole site - the imparted memory. Here the deceased has created a time capsule for anyone to experience at any time - this can take the form of a memoir, a diary, a photo album, or perhaps a website.

I feel a responsibility to care for the imparted memories I have been trusted with and to create imparted memories for those I will leave behind. The alternative is the unknown, and I'd rather know than not.

I recognize this may have been rather morbid, so I'll end on a different note. Another aspect of documenting doesn't have to do with death, but living memory as well. I don't have a great onboard memory, so I like out sourcing my memory to journals, websites, and photos. This works especially well when you have children, who will only "remember" the parts of their childhood that you impart to them. For me, that means consciously keeping records to be shared later, rather than depending on the unreliable jelly in my head. ๐Ÿ™‚