*This blog post originally appeared on the Hope for Widows website.
I’ve been told it won’t happen…can’t happen. But it’s already started.
I’m forgetting my husband.
Don’t get me wrong. Our love will always be something that I cherish for the rest of life. Our chance meeting on South Beach as I headed out for a night on the town with my girlfriends. The conversation we had until the break of dawn before he leaned in to ask for a kiss. I remember those special moments and always will.
Now 5 1/2 years later, it’s the routine, day-to-day things that I took for granted that are becoming harder to recall. I remember the tiny mole on his foot. But was it the left or right? The time we went fishing…what did he name the fish he caught?
For me, this is the part of my grief that I struggle with the most. Having lost him when I was only 32, it stands to reason that I may have two-thirds of my life left (God-willing). That’s a lot of living to do without your soulmate. That’s a lot of time to create new memories. A lot of time to start forgetting…
There is such anxiety that these new experiences will somehow cause me to forget the little things about my late spouse and our relationship. There were things that happened in my life that only he and I knew. But, these events and details seem cloudier with each passing year. Yes, we got into an argument in Bubba Gump Shrimp in New Orleans, but what started it? If he were here, I’d know. He had the memory of an elephant. Our memories would be living, breathing – renewed each time we joked about them. The preserver of our memories is no longer alive.
My life now reminds me of having someone write you the most beautiful letter, filled with words that take your breath away each time you read them. Then, just as you’re settling into your favorite chair to savor the happiness and emotions captured on the pages, it gets snatched away. All you’re left with is the imprint of the words on the pad. If the lighting is right, you can make out the words. You may even be able to rub your fingers over the pad and still feel the words, reminisce on that moment in time…
But life continues to write on my notepad. Those imprints that were once so clear in Year 1 don’t seem as clear anymore. It saddens me because I want to remember every conversation, every detail of our life together. I wish I’d paid closer attention, taken more photos, captured more video.
There are those that tell me that I will always remember how he made me feel when we were together…that he lives on in my heart. At times, that’s not enough for me. I feel the sting of his death with every memory I struggle to recall in great detail. It breaks my heart that there are parts of him – no matter how small – that escape my mind.
Yes, I know I’m still here and that I must live my life. However, there are days when creating new memories feels like spilling ink on what’s left of those faded words on that notepad. I push through, but it doesn’t take the pain away.
Forgetting…the Achilles heel of my widowed journey as I move forward through my grief.
Mom to a feisty preschooler, Kerry Phillips became widowed at age 32. She runs an online support group for young widows and widowers venturing back into the world of dating and is a blogger for The Huffington Post.