Remembering – or Not

Reading a post by Karen on “days and months” and Lhu Wen Kai made a comment that got me thinking, about something I try hard NOT to think about – memories.

Part of what Karen said was:

My formative years wiped out.  In conversation I couldn’t remember very much of our time together and somehow felt cheated.  I have been wandering around for a few days now trying to work out how I feel.  I know there is nothing I can do about it and have to let it go but I do wish I could get that time back to savour the memories and appreciate them. 

and part of the comment from Lhu Wen Kai was

All that’s left are memories, and most memories don’t last forever. If I had to pick one of the mosts emotionally painful thing that can happen to a human, I’ll pick this. I’ll pick the awful feeling of not being able to remember something, permanently, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. 

I have large gaps in my childhood memories, (nothing bad/traumatic happened to me – I had a great childhood), but when I am with my brothers, sisters and mother, there are just simply things I cannot remember.

Likewise, my children talk of things I should remember, from when they were younger, but those memories are gone.  Wiped by something in my brain, that for whatever reason, couldn’t find a space to keep them.

But even this is not the worst part. 

The worst part is that I am forgetting my husband.

I remember the bad stuff, the drama, the endless times in hospital, the pain, the despair, the anguish, the soul-destroying guilt and sadness, the misery.  All of it is still real and raw and pulsating, and can be triggered with a scent, a word, a thought.

Why, then, oh why, can’t I remember the beautiful, the happy, the joyful, the love in any other way than with some filter od dense material is imposed between, so that I cannot feel it anymore? 

This was, and is, my deepest fear. 

I knew that eventually I would forget those feelings. My father died when I was 17, so I knew, no matter how much you love someone, that eventually that love looses focus, looses reality, looses the hooks and barbs that hold it to you, and the person that you love drifts away into ghostly images, and you can’t hold in your head what their voice sounds like, what they smelt like, what it felt like to be hugged by them.  It fades.  It fades to an image that you may be able to retrieve for a mini-second, but then it wisps through your hands like mist and is gone. At least, that was what happened to me, maybe it is just me.

I clung to the devastation I felt for the death of my husband, as that was the strongest emotion that was left me.  It was the only way that I could keep even small part of him with me.  I was desperate to not let it go, because as long as I felt that, that raw, intense, unadulterated storm in my heart, he would still be with me.  I knew that once it was gone, he would be gone too, almost as if it would nullify everything that was before one the pain was gone.

I felt that if I forget how much it hurt to not have him alive, then I would have lost home forever.  Once the last person who remembers you forgets you, yo are truly dead.  So too, I feel that once I can no longer REALLY FEEL those emotions, Andrew will be dead to me.  I can’t bear the thought that he will be gone.  I can’t bear it that I only remember the sad times with any depth, and the good times, the times I should remember, are just vague magazine pictures in a world of 3d imagery.  WHY?

Why has my brain done this to me?  Why did I choose not to remember.  I want to pick open my head and throw all that bad stuff away, and put all the good stuff back where it should be, but it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

This has been a long post, I’ve rambled, it’s not written well, it comes from my dark place, but it’s part of who I am.

So now you know.

Andrew, I will mourn for you until the day I die.  I know I will forget things, forget what made some of you, you.  But I will never forget that you loved me.  I will never forget that I love you. I can never forget that I should have remembered better.           Always, C


8 responses to “Remembering – or Not”

  1. I have tears in my eyes reading the ending of your blog…. well written… very powerful stuff. My dad died when I was 13 and my memories have faded over the years but I do have the feeling of love left which is stronger than anything. If we lose one sense then another takes over, memories fade but the most powerful of all things is still left – the feeling of being loved and having loved. While you still have love in your heart for someone they will never be gone! I have no magic words to make you feel better but thank you for putting down on paper your innermost thoughts.


    1. Thank you. Tt isn’t well done, and I really haven’t still go to the nub of it, for me anyways. But it is a start to acknowledge it, as I have never really talk about it much, other than to a therapist many long years ago.


  2. This broke my heart. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I really hope you can reclaim the good memories.


    1. Here, you can share my box of tissues. 🙂
      Ah, thanks so much for your wishes.
      I’m wondering if I can be hypnotised to forget the bad and remember the good. But I have never been able to relax enough to be hypnotised, (I have tried for other reasons before) so not looking likely
      I know this patch will pass, they have before, and it is good to talk about it sometimes. Just not all the time.


  3. Oh honey!! I wish I could say something succinct that would make you feel better. The only thing I can say is that I learned a long time ago that holding onto bad ones casts a shadow over the cherished ones. I write down the ones that hurt me, eat at my soul. I physically write them down, on paper. And then I burn them. Somehow they lose their grip that way. The good memories will fade, in the same way a flower fades, its scent fading with it. But the love never will. There, a whole paragraph of serious Nikki. And a huge hug!! Chocolate!! Wine!!


    1. Thanks for the Chocolate and wine, you got me my favourite type, Lindt balls and Moscato, how thoughtful of you. I love the “scent fading” analogy, that is just what it feels like. Today is another day, and these days these moments don’t last forever, or I don’t allow them to last forever. Thanks for the hug too.


  4. I lost my father when I was almost ten years old. At that age there wouldn’t have been much to remember about him, but when my sister read my blog posts, she commented that I wrote about him a lot.
    I didn’t realize it, but even though I didn’t know him for very long, I remembered a lot of the things that he did and those things have shaped some of who I am today.
    I think the same can be said of your husband because your experiences with him (even the ones you don’t remember) are still a part of who you are.


    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and your kind words. I appreciate it.


Happiness is kind words from a friend …..

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