"But the thing about remembering is that you don't forget."
I would like to introduce you to my widowed brain.
I learned more about my widow brain and the new ways it seems to function while at camp in June. I learned that it is normal for it to function (which feels more like dis-function)the way it has for the last 6 months. If it were a part of the body that could lose weight and burn calories from use, mine would be a size 0. It is constantly spinning, trying to organize, process...all while existing in a constant fog.
Here are examples of the crazy workings of my current brain: it easily misplaces keys, phones, documents, envelopes and reading material. It forgets times and dates even with my calendar opened in front of me. It forgot the amount to write on the check for the DMV registration seconds after the clerk at the Auto Club told me the amount, requiring I write a second check. It is unable to fully listen and focus on the stories from a day of camp that Siobhan is eagerly trying to retell, while shopping and trying to remember what I need at the market. It is the one that forgot the mortgage payment after neatly paying all of the monthly bills and double checking to make sure all was complete. It's screaming that I can't find my phone while scrambling through my purse, only to realize it rests in my hands. It at times does not recall the drive as I arrive at a destination. It gets sidetracked during conversations by noises and it wandering to another thought. It is very remiss in returning emails, texts and phone calls.
My brain can however; remember the blue shirt Bob was wearing and that the Clash was playing on the radio while he was teaching me how to drive a stick shift over 25 years ago along Verdugo Blvd in Glendale. This memory surfaced while driving up that same street just a few weeks back. It remembers the topic of our dinner conversation we shared last year was about where to take Siobhan this summer while at Trattoria Amici at the Americana, all because I walked by the restaurant the other day. It fondly remembered a drive up the coast towards Northern California while we were still dating, simply because of the Flock of Seagulls song I heard playing at the market last month. While organizing a bathroom drawer in the spring and coming across a particular hair brush, it immediately time machined back to the day 8 years ago when Bob promised me that if I grew my hair back to it's longer length, he would take on the task of blowing it dry for me after each shampoo. As a yoga instructor chose to play music from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack during a class...well most of you can imagine the wave of memories spinning through my brain even though I was supposed to be holding Triangle Pose. While enjoying the announcement of the newest member to grace the royal family I began weeping as I emotionally remembered words, comfort and protection Bob provided during each of my birth stories. If I look at his shirts in our closet, my brain can attach a memory to almost each one.
Basically my brain makes little sense these days. I think it might be desperately grasping to remember every day spent with Bob over the last 32 years, both good and bad. Possibly fearing that without his physical presence to spark memories, that it might simply begin to forget it all. Either way, this is what it is like to be me right now.
And I now see that besides the big firsts that I have to hurdle (birthdays, holidays, celebrations and more milestones for the girls), I have to navigate the first time back at a restaurant that was shared by us all. I have to be able to walk into a movie theatre that we all walked into together, without him. And after being together (very closely) and doing almost everything with one another or the girls for all of this time, it is difficult to avoid this part of the journey. Almost everything I do leads me back to a memory or a thought of Bob. It's crazy. Every street I drive on, each shop I step into, every song I hear, every step I take, each morning I wake up I can picture a memory with Bob.
So now I try to do a few new things. Drive a different route, choose a different deli, gas station or store...just to give my brain a little rest.
So it can focus on remembering where my keys are.
Unforgettable, that's what you are
Unforgettable though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does thing to me
Never before has someone been more
Unforgettable in every way
And forever more, that's how you'll stay
- Irving Gordon