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