Sunday, October 17, 2010

Losing the Memories

There are many challenges associated with grief and loss that I expected, but I didn’t expect this one. On Lisa's birthday, I found myself thinking about her and thinking about us. As I reflected, I realized that I hadn't been thinking about her as often. I wouldn’t say it’s been a long while, but in terms of the time between reflections I have of her, this was by far the longest.

And I found myself struggling for the memories. How could this be? How could I be losing the memories? I already lost Lisa, isn’t the deal that I lose Lisa but get to keep the memories? Didn’t I sign that somewhere in some death contract I made with life?

I started to panic. Over the next few days I was obsessing of any memory of her. Pulled out the old video tapes, drove by the ole hangouts, pulled out the love letters. I felt like I did something wrong. That by not thinking of Lisa enough, I was being punished with the loss of my memories.

How many times do I have to go through the same damn cycle to learn that I am not done yet. The answer of course is as many times as the cycle happens. So here I am going through another grief cycle, this time grieving the loss of memories, a devastating double loss considering the fact that Lisa is already gone.

I am now at the “acceptance” stage of the cycle (once again), I am slowly getting to the “not feeling guilty that I’ve done something wrong” stage, but not there just yet. I hate it that Lisa died so young, I hate it that I will probably be alive longer than I knew Lisa. It makes me sad to thing that in 20 years, the memories will seem like 5 lifetimes ago.
But just like the early stages of grieving Lisa's death, time will move forward, life will keep on moving, and I now know that the memories will become more faded. And like before, I will continue to cherish what I have and the memories I do remember, instead of obsessing over what I have lost. After two years, the lessons just keep coming. Swell.


  1. I recently took a class on self-hypnosis. I was instructed to imagine a loved one calling my name on the exhaled breaths. However, I cannot remember his voice calling my name. Did he call me by name? It is driving me crazy and is only 3 years down the road. Sandy

  2. Recently for me it was the thought that now is just a memory, not alive anymore. It saddened me to think that was all I was feeling for the moment, but yet I know that this is what will need to happen for me to move foward. Yet, I still have moments when I cry and long for his presence. Had a nightmare with him in it and it still brought me comfort- how crazy is that!

  3. amazing and perfect. so entirely accurate - thank you for putting it into words.

  4. I was curious, who wrote this? The writer deserves credit for bearing their conflict so well. I too have felt these feelings and have struggled with the memories fading so I related to this a lot, especially this past week on the occasion of Matt's birthday when my memories were different than the previous two birthdays.

  5. This blog was written by one of our visiting contributors, Matthew Crocke. Thanks Stacey for bringing the fact that his name is nowhere on the post to my attention! And thanks Matt for sharing your journey with us here on Widow's Voice.

  6. It's comforting to know others dealing with death of a loved one also seem to have "memory loss" with it. I lost my mom when I was 16, and now, 18 years later, she seems like a warm glow, but all specifics seem to have faded. It's heartbreaking, frusterating, and leaves me a bit empty-- but it has led to a 'distillation" of those memories which remain as only good, only love. Maybe that is all that matters.