When we lose a friend or a loved one, family or not, we most often dedicate a bit of our life to making sure we never forget that person, or in some cases, that animal/friend. This is commendable, although, not always an honorable thing to do. At least I feel that way.
In my family, there are two members still living whom are older than myself. My father and an aunt on my deceased mother’s side. I love them both, although the relationship with one of them is quite strained. Regardless, they are still good people and very deserving.
Two aunts, two uncles, my mother, both grandmothers, both grandfathers, and, of course, all family preceding them have passed on. I have not forgotten them, otherwise, I would not be writing this. I have, however, forgotten many of their faces. I can still see them in my mind, but not as in the years just after their passing, do those faces appear without effort. Now, I have to ‘see’ them to remember them. Many times, it takes a few minutes to go through my memory warehouse to find those locations, but I eventually ‘see’ them. This is ok. There is nothing wrong with this.
One should never feel guilt for not remembering. Forgetting is part of the closing process. It’s what we all do, although some fight it, some feel guilt because of it, some are horrified that it happens, many never accept it. You have to move on. You have to let go. You can’t feel guilt for something you could not change. You cannot stop death and feeling guilt for it makes it no less final. There is no ‘fuzzy feeling’ that arises from death in any way. Don’t look for that feeling, don’t waste time on it. Move ahead.
So, by now, after reading this, you may think I am a cold and unfeeling individual, especially if there has recently been a death of someone close to you in your family and you are still grieving. Please, there is no liberty in that. I miss my preceding loved ones as much as anyone else misses theirs, I just choose to allow them to die, not live in false temporality.
My mother, Charlotte, was a good woman. January 27, 2000, two days before she turned 65. She came from a poor family, but she was very understanding of nearly everyone. We all have limits of understanding, and some of us choose to appear as though we do, allowing us to ‘get away’ with much more than we could, had we appeared to be completely cognizant.
My aunt was also a good woman. She was two siblings older than my mother. Barbara was her name. She was very dear to me and understood me well.
Uncle Kenny was the next and last oldest after Barbara. He was a fun uncle, although, I learned about 15 years ago that for many, many years he had been harboring a dark secret from his childhood. I will not reveal it here, but my sources are very dependable.
Uncle ‘Tinker,’ the youngest of five, was an Ok guy. Very bossy and somewhat of a ‘wannabe’ bully. I liked him when I was a kid, but not so much after I got a bit older. He got very arrogant in his final years. I still loved him, but couldn’t spend much time around him.
Frances, grandmother on my mother’s side, was a good woman. Very spiritual. Very loving. Honestly, I still miss her. We all called her Nana. I couldn’t say grandma as a child and it came out as Nana. It stuck till her last day in 1998.
Ellen, my father’s mother. She passed in 1967. I was 13 years old. I called her Gammy up to her last day. (Gaw me.) She filled my sky. She eclipsed everything that existed in my world.
Ok, now, these people were very important to me. Some as mentors, some as just family members. (I am not including any friends in this story.)
I was saddened at their passing. Most certainly. All of them.
Over the years, memories fade. We forget many things. Some things never leave us, or at least we feel like they don’t. I know that in my life, some of my memories have actually evolved, changed, become what I want them to be, not what they were originally recorded as. I don’t know how it happens, but I know it does. I know it does.
Now, because they do evolve, they also fade. It is inevitable. I know that my mother’s sweet face is much harder to see in my mind than many years ago. Even with the photo above, I still have a hard time remembering her face, her voice, her fragrance, her laugh, her frustrations.
Well, I have also admitted to myself that forgetting is not immoral or morbid. It’s what happens and needs to be accepted. Of course, it feels bad. I question my love and devotion to family and friends because I forget or have forgotten, but I know it is a natural thing. People forget, and they forget loved ones. You never forget who they are, but you forget about them.
You forget their laugh, their fragrance, etc., but you don’t forget them. You may need a book to remember them, watch a movie or hear a song. Maybe a favorite poem they read to you. Something will bring them back, but something will be missing.
My family members have been gone for some time. I don’t feel bad that I forget something about them almost daily. I feel pretty normal about it.
Here’s the deal. If you lose someone to a health issue, an accident, whatever it may be, you can’t internalize that situation. People pass on, die, kick the bucket, whatever you want to call it. No one lives forever, we know that without a doubt. Forgetting them is a natural process. You can’t spend the rest of your life asking, “What if I had….?” You can try. You will become less productive in life, miserable, sad, etc. You have to pick up the pieces, sort them and discard what doesn’t fit into your life. Don’t feel guilty about it. There is nothing you can do.
Move on, become productive. They would have you do so, so do it.
Thanks for looking,
Edit – My father passed on the 18th on January in 2015. I do not miss him. We never, ever had a connection.