I know what you mean, and hope is a big part of it for me too. But I too have had weird experiences that aren't quite explained away so easily.
As for remembering things from the past, I dunno, but wouldn't presume to say for sure. What I do find interesting is how often small children seem to maintain some weird connection to another part of the universe. My daughter has on a couple of occasions had conversations with "mee maw" (what my wife called her grandmother, who died years before my daughter was born), despite never being told that name. It was kind of eerie. I wonder when we lose that?