Sometimes I forget important things. I forget little things very frequently. Where I laid my phone, or my watch. I find things I value in unexpected places and then I am consumed with trying to figure out why I thought at the time that was good place to put them.
Sometimes I am so busy with something like my artwork that for a short time I forget everything. Perhaps it is not so much forgetting as “not thinking about” certain things. I don’t think about my husband or daughter or my son.
One type of thinking about all of them is through memory of times past and comparing them to the present. My son is totally in memory. There are times I attempt to project what things would be like with him in the present were he still here but that usually leads to hours of tears. So sometimes I stop myself when I am tempted to do that – it takes up what little time I have.
I think about how things used to be. Or a photo shows me a scene and I try to patch together every memory I have about it. Some times the memories are like a scene in a movie where the camera rushes in close up. I imagine my pupils dilate becoming like dark wells with every thought spilling down into me. There are times when I come across a photo that I put it aside deliberately because I know the gravitational pull it will have on my emotions.
I understand that my emotions are not who I am. They are an expression, a chemical reaction at times and anything from a smell or a sound, a refrain of music or the appearance of a bird silhouette against a cobalt blue sky can evoke an emotion. At times I have the presence of mind to hold them at arm’s length and regard them in context. Sometimes I just give in to them, pile them up on the bed with the curtains closed and wallow in them or allow them to drip onto the book I am reading, the painting on the easel.
The evidence of the passing of time with the traces on my face and hair, the backs of my hands cannot be overlooked. I feel it in my body’s joints. My son is never going to grow old which is something not only I but the world should regret.
He (as I know so many others who have passed too soon) had so much to contribute to a world who could have used a mind like his. I find this to be the most difficult thing to get past when I think of him. I understand that everyone is of value and I as most parents have wondered why I could not exchange places with him. Then I think of my daughter and when she was so ill and could not take her place in treatment either. It was not possible.
It is hard to accept what is yours sometimes; the courage to live out your life anyway. The ability to recognize your talents for what they are – tools to be used in any way you see fit – whether just for yourself or for others and accepting the consequences. And I really hate consequences.
Yet this life is the life I have. If Stephen Hawking is correct and there are other mes and others of my son in parallel universes it does me no good here speculating. It serves only to frustrate the fact I can’t send a message to her son to tell of the consequences his choice might bring about. But perhaps where they are there are no rocks to climb or ropes there are failsafe.
Sometimes I hesitate to even write about it any more. It can become like a locomotive engine hitching itself to my train of thought for the whole day and taking me where I do not what to go where there is regret and self-recrimination, doubts and frustration. I understand that I have experienced part of this every Spring when the green world turns its face to me daring me to not sigh over its beauty.
It would be more beautiful for me and my husband and daughter if our son and brother were still here, laughing with us, teasing us, coaxing us to try new things, hike and embrace this world. We do these things still but they are shaded differently and sometimes the poignancy of the missing number in our family equation equals grief and yearning that cannot be swept away.
Sometimes I still want to think I am mistaken. That he cannot possibly have died, that he is somewhere else – traveling and enjoying his life. It never lasts long and perhaps it is the passing of the years that have truncated that fantasy , though it is a soothing one to indulge in, sometimes.