I’ve spent a lot of my spare time lately, thinking. Even in those moments where I am incredibly busy – I like to stop, and look around. Take it all in. Memorize it. Freeze it. The other day I stopped eating, and looked around the dinner table with the people I was sitting with. Voices were muted, smiles frozen – and for a moment in time, I was watching the lives of people unfold around me.
This older couple, who have been through more than their fair share of trials – divorced yet remain good friends, sat side by side telling old stories about their son. Their son: who tragically had died many years ago. Their faces held the scars of stories from the past, their bodies old and worn. But the memories. They smiled as they recounted them. Together. Years later. Both in agreement of how the day had unfolded, all those many years ago when their son was small.
The story was ordinary, yet they both laughed and smiled. His name rolled off their tongue with no problem. No remorse. Nothing held back. I studied their faces, worn with time, for hints of sadness. But both being of the strong type – neither showed anything but sheer happiness. Perhaps, for being able to talk about their son with others. Sharing him with others. Sharing his memory with others.
Later that night, as I walked home, I thought over the story they had told. The story that conveyed so much detail – details that otherwise might have been forgotten, but due to the circumstances – will forever be remembered. The sun, the clothes, perhaps even the color of the soap. Preserved perfectly forever.
I often wonder what it would be like – to have someone to toss memories around with. “Remember when?”
Memories are quickly fading. Replaced with more relevant ones. Ones that are current, up to date, and remembered by more than just me. It’s kind of funny, that way. The mind can only remember so much – and more relevant information replaces the old. I don’t talk about her all that often, and maybe that is wrong. Maybe I am doing it all wrong. Keeping her memory to myself – only sharing pieces of her with those who really want to hear.
I don’t randomly burst into stories about her, and while that has a lot to do with my fading memories and the fact that I only have so many stories – stories that mostly everyone has – a lot of it has to do with me. Wanting to hold what is left of her back. And maybe that’s wrong. Maybe I should be willing and open and ready to share like it was yesterday.
With a smile. And an unguarded heart. One that isn’t crushed when someone turns her memory down. Maybe one day. One day I will be ready. Ready to share the stories I hold close out of fear of losing them. Ready to share her with the world. Ready to smile when I talk about her with others. Ready. To share her.
But until then, I will smile when others discuss their loved ones, knowing that while they may be scar covered wounds, healed by time, deep down – the loss of losing a child, of losing a loved one, of losing someone close to your heart, no matter how much has been healed by time -is still there. And will never completely, go away. Even though in time, you come to accept this.
And one day – I too will share.