Last week a friend of mine called me when she was very upset. We haven’t seen each other for over three years, though we only live about an hour apart. I was taken a little off guard when she said she had forgotten what my voice sounded like. I still remembered hers. In fact, her accent has changed slightly. She asked for a male perspective on some things, which I gave her, but with the disclaimer that I’m far from a typical man. Either way, we spoke for a little over two hours, I gave my opinions and the call ended well. There is one voice I don’t remember, but skimming my memory, Dee’s voice is the only one I don’t remember. I can barely remember her accent.. She had grown up here in the US and moved to the UK sometime in her late teens to marry a lawyer that was a little older than her. While in… I can’t even remember what part she was in now. Either way, she had picked up some of the local accent which always got to me. I remember that it was a mix of a mild southern drawl and a British accent. I can remember that, but not the actual sound or tone of her voice. It’s strange how memory works. I have large holes in my memory. In some cases, entire years are missing, or are a vague blending of fragmented memories from years spanning over the course of a decade with no real timeline. They just.. Are. It’s hard to recount things is any order. My mind certainly doesn’t store things in order. A few weeks ago I found my only picture of Dee. A small square picture that’s all of about 2″x2″. I had lost that photo a long time ago, or so I thought. I felt so guilty about having lost it. There’s the only thing I had left that was physical or tangible to remember her by at this point. I had beat myself up so many times for having lost track of it. I couldn’t remember what she looked like. How can you forget someone whom you loved so much? I’ve heard many things relating to loss and death.. Most of which to offer comfort in some way. Time heals all wounds, or that she’s still out there looking over me – that sort of thing. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, I can assure you that at least for me, it doesn’t. Time allows you to get past the visceral pain and reaction and basically learn to live with it. At best, my soul has horrific scars. As far as her still being out there.. There were times when I literally felt what I believed to be her presence in the years following her death. I don’t know if there was anything beyond wishful thinking than that. Whatever it was, it was a comfort to feel that at the time, so I’ll leave it at that. Memory has always been a battle for me though. Even when I’ve tried so hard to remember even the most basic of things from day to day I struggle. It’s more than mild absentmindedness. I’ve worked out a system of notes and such to get me through the workday, and it rarely ever fails me. Though she thinks it’s ridiculous to do so, I’ve asked my wife to write down a list of things she wants or needs me to take care of on the notepad in the kitchen. It may be ridiculous, but since she started doing this regularly we’ve had no more arguments about what I should or shouldn’t have done. When it comes to big things though, how much of our memory is wrapped up in emotion and not details? Studies have shown that even traumatic memories aren’t consistent over time. In general, what’s remembered isn’t reliable at all. When I look at the past, I’m at a loss as to how much of what I remember is accurate at all as far as details. I had a therapist once that told me that the details aren’t all that important, what’s important is what I’m left with and am dealing with now as result. To some degree I see the logic in that, but I think whether something happened or not does bear some importance. It is odd though, living with so many large gaps. There’s so much unknown. It’s strange living while having little to no past, really. At least in my mind I don’t. At times I feel like a fraud, like I’m living a lie of some sort. As if I’m occupying a body and playing along in a role in a life that is foreign to me. I have been diagnosed more than once as being mildly dissociative in relation to my youth, but to my knowledge, it was never explored much. That would explain the gaps in memory, but what does that make me? A host? An alter? These things don’t keep me up at night, but they do cross my mind now and again. One could argue that we aren’t the mere sum of our past experiences. I would argue that I know who I am, but I don’t know much about where I’m coming from, but what little I do know, it’s not from a pleasant place. I’m here, and I’m good with who I am – I like me, a lot. I just don’t know how the hell I got here sometimes.
So many random thoughts today… I can’t seem to focus. I’m completely exhausted. The blizzard left somewhere between a foot and two feet of snow here. The power was out for a good portion of the blizzard and my wife was mandated to stay on at the hospital on her floor. She wasn’t happy about not being allowed to come home, but she was better off there – at least they had heat. I spent most of the time in the car while it was idling to stay warm. Luckily I had a number of friends who helped me pass the time by texting.