Friday, October 4, 2013

What If I Forget ...

What If I Forget ....

His smell. His funny lips and the way they turned up at the corner. His skin.
His dry skin that always needed chapstick, and his back that always needed to be scratched.

What If I forget ...

Those piercing blue eyes that became someone else's eyes when he donated them to the eye bank.
The way they looked at me. Through me. Into me. The way they saw my soul.

What If I forget the way he held his guitar pick, or how he looked so focused and intense when playing a new chord - a new song. What if I forget how he would make me sit on the couch next to him and listen to the music he had just created, or how he used my knees and legs as imaginary drums - playing each beat on them with his fingers and thumbs. The way my voice sounded when I sang with his melody. The way we harmonized in song and in life. The way that our marriage was like a duet. What if I forget ....

I'm scared. I'm terrified of forgetting. Living in constant fear of not recalling the large and the tiny moments of our time together. The only thing I have now - moments. Moments that are gone. Past tense. They live in my memory, and what if my memory were to fade away like the wind, like some thin tissue paper disappearing into the wind ...

What then? For what is a life except for what it leaves behind? We have no children. No legacy to live out his name. No son or daughter to be like their daddy. Just me. The wife. The widow. The responsibility - the honor - falls upon me to make sure he is remembered, to make sure that his spirit and his beautiful soul lives on, to make sure that his kindness and his humor and his epic love of animals is seen somehow, in the world and the universe around me. So what if I forget? I cannot ever forget. I cannot let myself. I could never forgive myself. To forget anything about him - anything at all - would be like a betrayal to our love. To his life. The worst thing I could ever do would be to not recall a memory. A fraction of time. A molecule in the days and months and years that we had with one another. The worst thing would be to go blank.

Will the memories fade with time? With age? Will I always be able to see him when I close my eyes? Can I shut off the world and just imagine all those times that he would slowly cover me with a blanket, or hold my hand while humming to himself softly, or pout his bottom lip at me when he wanted something? Will I be able to pull up, from the file cards in my brain, the silly songs we made up and sang to each other? How many times will I have to keep singing them to our kitties, pretending that they are him? Trying like hell to keep it burned in my mind, for all eternity ...

It's been 2 years now, and his clothes no longer smell like his clothes. They are just clothes. His guitars remain sitting in silence, because the music is ruined without him, and I dont know how to play. He tried to teach me a bunch of times, but I didnt have the patience. He told me stories a bunch of times too - about his childhood, his days in the Air Force, stuff that happened at work while being on the ambulance. I never paid enough attention. I should have listened more. I didnt know that I needed to imprint it into my heart. I didnt know that his heart would stop beating.

I carry with me the 7 years we spent dating long-distance, and the almost 5 years we spent together - here - happy and engaged - and then married. So joyously and wonderfully married. My favorite word was always husband. Nothing I loved more than calling him my husband. So now, I must carry the sacred pages of our marriage with me in the spaces of my heart - and treat them with the most fragile touch. For if they should break or tear or get lost in the cruel, cold wind - and I cannot get back the pieces - I will have to re-trace each chapter, bit by bit - until I am able to find the things that were once our life. Our beautiful, precious life.

And what if I forget? I will not forget. I cannot forget. Because the second I forget, is the second that he truly, really dies.


  1. Kelley.
    You so beautifully put into words the way I feel.
    Those of us who were not lucky enough to have children in our families have only ourselves now when we speak of family. Even though it was just the two of us (and our wonderful pets) Charlie and I were/are a family. Now I must be that family, and you are so right - the memories are all we have to go forward with.

    May none of us ever forget.

  2. Kelley, you won't forget. Neither will I. Allen and I only had 8 years together, and now he's been gone 4 years. I go over and over the times in our life - seems like it might be easier to have only 8 years of stuff to remember instead of 30. But how I wish we had more years to remember! I also don't let anyone else forget, either. Facebook is good for this - almost weekly I'll post a picture of him, with a little comment. I always get so many replies to these posts. I don't post widow musings - I keep the feelings private, but folks love the pictures. I find Facebook a double-edged sword. I love when anyone mentions him and replies to the pictures - but I can't stand all the "life is good" and "here's what me and my wonderful husband did today"...

    1. Might be too late for you to get this message but just recently found this site. Lost my love New Year's Eve of 2010. Yes, I hate the "life if good" and "here what we did......" on FB. I totally understand. After all this time, I do realize that it is a couple's world. We don't realize it until we are no longer a couple. God bless you.

  3. Kelley Lynn, OMG, the tears were flowing as I read today's blog. Thank you for expressing what I'm feeling as well. A friend sent me this poem a few months ago. I know each of you will apprecicate it as much as I did.

    "When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you. It means, that when we meet again, You will know me. For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost."

  4. Oh, Kelley, so heartbreakingly beautiful and true.

  5. You may forget some of the details, but you never forget the person or the love. It's been six and a half years for me and I know I have forgotten some things, but there are still many memories that I can pull up at any time, and some that come up magically and always bring a smile to my face.

  6. I too experienced this "fear of forgetting" in my core being about a year after my husband died. I happened to share that fear with my brother in law who loved my husband, his brother, deeply also. His words brought comfort to me when so often I could never find comfort. He said, "MJ, anytime you need to see Marty's face, close your eyes and he will be there." So far, he was right.

  7. I could have written this. From the guitar to the singing to the wishing I had paid more attention to the stories of his life. We were a long distance couple for several years, and the almost-seven years that we lived under the same roof were the best of my life. I'm terrified of forgetting, but it hurts so much to remember...

    1. coyotefit: wow. we also had a long-distance relationship (for 7 years before he moved up to live with me),and then another 7 years living together/engaged/married ... which were the best of my life as well.:) Good to connect and talk with you xo

  8. You will never forget...we won't either. I think early on in my loss, there was just so much else to try to comprehend, that I, too, worried about forgetting all the little day to day details of our lives. But as time goes on (3+ yrs) and my life settles somewhat, so many things trigger the memories these days. And I don't find myself always crying as those memories come back, but am starting to remember them with joy, something I never ever thought would be a part of my life again. I like to think those memories are engraved on my heart, so even if I do forget them as I age, they are a part of me forever.

  9. God bless you sweetie, You are where we all need too be......

  10. It's been almost two years and I also have the fear of forgetting. And it seems to get stronger as the days go by, because I have, in fact, forgotten some details of our life together. You don't have to be childless to worry about who will remember you and your spouse the way you want both of you to be remembered. And a half century of memories are difficult to remember with the exactness I seek.

    Yes, Julie and Kelley, may none of us forget.

  11. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved over to the Soaring Spirits web site. Kelley Lynn still writes for us each Friday. You'll find the blog posts here: