Thursday, April 26, 2012

I can't remember if I remember


I had a horrifying experience this week:

I couldn't remember.

It started with a drive to meet my sister-in-law in Canada. The drive was a familiar one that I've taken with Jer hundreds of times through the years. Suddenly and unexpectedly, but like a familiar wave of grief, I was struck with tears realizing I would never take the drive again with him. Then I started to try and remember all the different drives I had taken with Jeremy over the years on that road. I remembered very little, which bothered me, but that wasn't the problem.

I then started trying to think about what it felt like to hold Jeremy's hand in the car like I had so many times before. But instead, all I could remember for that little while was holding my brother's hand in the hospital as he slipped away from us, and the second I noticed a change in his hands and knew that he was gone. And like the wave, I was covered in tears. Tears for my brother, who I've been missing so much the last few days (well, ever since I saw my nephew last weekend and his resemblence to my brother was so eery and heartbreaking for me) and tears for the fact that I couldn't get myself to remember was it was like to hold my husband's hand.

I started to go back to all those familiar moments that I think about often. Like the night before he died - him holding my hand on the way home, telling me how much he loved to hear me sing....I tried to remember past what I normally thought about, maybe some other details I missed before and I couldn't. Then I started to doubt the memory. It feels so distant - did that really happen? Do I actually remember it or is it just because I thought about it so many millions of times that it has become a habit instead of a memory? It was truly horrifying to feel like my memories were slipping further away from me just like Jeremy was.

Luckily, it was fleeting. Sometimes, all it takes is a picture of his jaw line or crooked smile to bring all those things back. Or a random hot day where the smell of sweat suddenly made me miss his salty kisses in the middle of the afternoon on a lunch break. Or sitting with Steve, playing with his ears, and remembering how different it felt to play with Jeremy's. I remember with such detail praying every day that I never forget.

But every once in awhile....I can't remember if I remember.
I hate those moments.

1 comment:

  1. Tears came when I read your post. You are not alone.
    Driving for me elicits lots of memories, just like your post did.

    The post so true. The moments of not being able to remember are not easy. I think these moments act as triggers of grief --letting us know again the intensity of the love for our spouse.
    The love remains and it is not easy letting go of a past life.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Virtual hugs come your way.