Friday, October 23, 2009

The Pain of Forgetting

Lately I've been thinking a lot about death and the pain that comes when someone close has died. The pain is multifaceted and changes over time, or at least it does for me. In the beginning, when the death just occurs and the pain is still raw you usually have people there by your side, caring, concerned, trying to be helpful. Offering such things as the seven steps of loss pamphlet, as though that guide of emotions somehow is supposed ease what your feeling by letting you know others experience the same exact pain. This usually left me annoyed, since I wanted my pain to be SPECIAL and UNIQUE for the person who had died. After a certain time the phone calls and emails stop, the concern in their voices fade and you are expected to go on as though nothing had changed. The time for grief is over, living your life is the new order of the day.

It's true that as time goes by the pain becomes duller, some days you don't even think of the person or how your life would have been different that very moment had they been alive.Then there are days where you feel their absence so sharply it's hard to breath, the pain of not having them there is crippling.

Then there's the pain of knowing you are forgetting the person. The weight of their hand on your face, the sounds of their voice, the way their face looked when they were annoyed, happy, or bored. After a while all those memories start turning into dust, and what you have left is caricature of the person you loved so dearly. It's sick really, I want to remember and yet one by one the slip away, there's no magical way (a la Harry Potter) to store the most precious memories. So on top of the pain of missing someone you will never see again, you have the pain of losing the memories that mean so much to you. It's devastating and feels like, on some level, another loss.

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