A few days ago, I asked my 4-year-old daughter, Milo, if she remembered where she had put my tablet. She didn't. I suggested to her to imagine that our brain has millions of tiny boxes, and all the memories that we create are stored in them. So, when we want to remember something, we just need to tell our brain to find the box that we need, and open it. In a minute she figured where she put the tablet and what had been lost was now found! I was impressed with my illustrative skills! While watching "Connected" episode 7, "Tearing Down Walls," I wondered, "Was it right to describe our memories as information stored like boxes in a storage unit?"
When my husband Ido and I signed up for participating in this amazing "Connected" adventure, we made a pact that whatever we film individually wouldn't be seen by the other until we saw the final edited version of the episodes. I remember watching episode 7 for the first time. And I couldn't stop crying. In a heartbreaking monologue, Ido talks about Isli, our baby girl that we lost when she was eight days old. It was only by watching the episode that I learned that we are both living with the same thoughts and emotions.
Truth be told, we had never really dealt with our grief as a couple till the aftermath that is shown in this episode. We didn't really have the chance to. We were in survival mode. At the time, we had a three-year old and a newborn to take care of, along with newly developing careers. We kept pushing forward without stopping to think for one second. I convinced myself that I could just store the memory of Isli in one of the boxes in my brain and control when to open it, but reality bites.
When we opened the real-life memory box sent by the hospital team who took care of Isli during the last days of her short life, Ido and I finally had the chance to grieve together. Even though we knew what would be in there, and the box lived in a closet that we opened daily, we still couldn't go through with opening it for more than a year. Eventually, the experience, shown in the episode, not only united us, it freed us.
Ido said that there isn't a day he doesn't think of Isli, and that almost anything can trigger her memory. It's like he took the words right out of my mouth. The memory of Isli is not stored in a lockbox in my brain or a Fedex box in the coat closet. Some memories live within every cell of your body and you can't choose when they surface. These are the memories that take over all the brain boxes, every molecule of your being. The real challenge is to embrace them and be at peace.
Next time Milo loses something, I'll definitely be using a different metaphor to focus that four-year old attention span.