I was shocked to see her phone number come up on my phone. I remember deleting it at least twice. It wasn’t supposed to be there.
I was sending a text to my friend Marcey and as I searched for her contact and hit the letter M, the first contact listed was Mom. All of her numbers and information were there. Just had they had been three years ago. The moment made me stop and shake my head as I saw the correlation of never truly being able to delete items from a phone or computer system and how they are similar to our memories. Frankly, there are many things we can delete from the main frame (or our immediate memories) but they remain accessible. My Mom’s phone number reappearing was a reminder she is still with me.
February is a month full of events and memories that I don’t want to delete. There are many great memories. James and I became engaged in February (yes, we are one of those Valentine’s Day couples) and we moved into both of our homes in February (we also like to tempt fate with moving into a new home in the middle of a Kentucky winter). In addition to those events, February is the month of my Dad’s birthday, my parents anniversary, the month I turned in my resignation to a job I loved and the anniversary month of my Mom’s death. Needless to say, a lot can happen in a short month.
This February marks three years since my Mom’s death. A few months ago I actually needed to double check the time frame. Life has moved both quickly and at a snail’s pace. It can still seem just like yesterday and additionally seem much longer than three years.
Due to the ability to remember specifics of times and places, I have always been able to mark the dates of what was going on at certain times during her illness. However, this anniversary has been and is different. Days which may have been significant have passed without the conscious knowledge of the dates. As with my iphone pulling up my Mom’s number, I can pull the memory up but it is not always present.
One can become stuck in the continual processing and remembrance of life’s events. Tragic situations often become the main focus immediately after an event. It takes work to move away and no longer be the hostage of moments. Over the past three years, I have allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel and allow healing.
In the acute stages of grief, many question if memories can ever occur and not be painful. Often the first year seems to be nothing but one reminder after another of the loss. It can be difficult to remember the joy as it can feel like there could never be joy again. As a counselor, I can make very few promises but I know the power of healing.
Regardless if a memory is joyful or painful, the human brain has the capacity to file away these memories. Even the tragic and painful at times need to be recalled to remind of us of where where we have been, what we have accomplished and how we have changed.
I’m grateful for the ability to recall the life of my Mother and what she gave me. There are days now where I may only think of her once but it does not make her presence any less in my life. I’ve been able to delete the initial pain of grief and recall the memories of love.
Do you find yourself surprised at memories you thought had been forgotten?