The human memory is infinitely complex. We know that a variety of sensory stimuli can act as triggers for ‘remembering’ a certain object, event or loved one. The emotions experienced during that act of remembering can vary as greatly as the memories themselves.
The years following a serious brain injury that left me without a sense of smell and taste were difficult. I came to realise that the emotions associated with many important memories had dissolved, due to the loss of its associated ‘smell trigger’. What were once important scents, like that of jasmine, of freshly cut grass, even my own child, were now lost. The emotional consequences lead to an investigation of the residue left on objects, places and people that may be revisited many times throughout a lifetime. Our ability to distinguish and decode those memories may change with the passing of time and as we physically age, but the echoes of the event itself remain.
Some would even say that those echoes are the remnants or tokens of life itself. That they not only hold a presence outside one’s own capacity to remember, but continue to resonate beyond our own lifetime.