Memories Are Tricky

If you’re in the fog of grief, it can seem like far, far too much of your brain is tied up in screaming. You’re trying to eat, sleep, maybe go to work or the grocery store, talk to people like a functioning adult, and all that takes place against a constant buzz of loss.
“How are you?” -Fine
“Hey do you have minute” -Sure
“Did you find everything you needed today?” -Yes, thanks
And the WHOLE time, your heart is in pieces, you’re so tired you can’t think, and your whole spirit is just one dull roar of agony.

WHY
HOW
WHY
NO
NO
NO

no. no. no….that can’t be true. they can’t be gone. how are they gone? that’s not real. I can’t believe they’re gone. why are they gone? Oh, God, I’m so tired. They’re gone, and I’m so tired.

I don’t have a lot of memories with Faith and Elijah. 17 weeks just isn’t very long, and I only felt Elijah kick once. The memories I do have with my children are heart-wrenching and difficult. Holding them as they slipped away is the hardest thing I have ever done, and sometimes those memories are sharp as knives and completely out of the blue.

Sometimes my brain is like a kaleidoscope–some memories are in sharp focus while others fade away, or wait for their turn. I remember the look on the doctor’s face when he couldn’t find Elijah’s heartbeat anymore, the way he shook his head at the nurse; I remember how the doctor attending me with Faith waited for me to open my eyes and look at him before he continued talking to me [about what, I have no idea]. I remember how the night nurse heard me sobbing in the recovery room and came to sit with me. I remember staying up and listening to Don Williams very softly on my phone the night I lost Faith; I equally clearly remember staying up all night after I lost Elijah, demanding answers from God. I will never forget those moments.

However, I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things too. I was pretty woozy from pain meds with Faith. The memories with her are the fuzziest. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things with Elijah too, but if my brain has let them go I don’t want to chase them. The memories I’ve retained are painful enough to last the rest of my lifetime, and then some.

But the funny thing is, tomorrow those bad memories might be back in the vault, to be replaced by good memories. I have reached the point when I can laugh about the good memories I do have, even though my heart aches. If love hurts, as Led Zeppelin asserts, then my God, do I love them, still and always.

Memories are tricky, ambushing things. Sometimes they come from nowhere; sometimes there’s a song, a phrase, a smell, and you’re right back to that moment where your life ended and restarted. I don’t think I have PTSD or anything [although I don’t really want to test that hypothesis]. I know I’ve had grief-related anxiety and depression, but I think they’re easing some. My grief is changing with time, and I have to be okay with that because I can’t grieve forever. It still hurts, it’ll always hurt, but I’m no longer in soul-roaring agony, at least not today.

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