If you take away the memories, what is left of a person?

People are made up of their smiles, the lines and creases on their faces, the wrinkles that form on the corners of their eyes. People are made up of the way they laugh, and the way that laughter echoes; how does the laughter bounce off the walls of their home? Does it spring and scatter in glittery noise? Does it thunder and bolt into a rich, cheerful clap? Does it trickle like a soothing stream on a midsummer day of 1990?

People are made up of their hearts, yes, but it is the way their hearts manifest on their faces, their smiles, in the wrinkles and creases of their faces. A kindhearted person has a kind face because the arteries and veins are chugging clean, pure blood day in and day out in an effort to beautify the person’s face.

The memories we have of someone are entrenched in that smile, that laugh, the wrinkle, that crease, the shine of their eyes. When people leave us, we are not left with their hands holding our hands. We don’t always have tangible evidence of their presence. What we do have is their scent and the memories that their countenance left with us.

When I lost my grandma, the first thing I was able to recall – before all the moments, before all her wise words, before the enormous love I had for her – was her beautiful, kind face. I was almost able to trace my fingers over the lines on her forehead, and around her eyes. I remembered her deep chuckle, the one that came straight from the depths of her big heart and that made it to her sparkling eyes.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy that can occur in a person’s life is the loss of memory. A broken heart is broken because of memories tormenting it, but the heart goes on because the same memories demand for it to live, for it to reminisce. A tarnished and evaporated memory, however, means that the heart no longer has a reason to beat. What will it live for? A blank nothingness? A void of… nothing?

If you take away the memories, nothing is left of a person.