Bittersweet Memories

        Sometimes, in those sweet, blurry moments just before I open my eyes, I forget she is gone, and I imagine her waiting patiently for the covers to rustle and tell her I am awake. I wait for the sandpaper kisses and the unbridled joy she shows every single time she sees me. Then I come fully awake and remember she is gone.

        Three months, two days, 21 hours and 40 minutes. That’s how long she has been gone. I hoard her memories. Try to scan through them often, make them fresh again. They are fragile, though, and the days break them down. Crucial details fade away, smoothed by the sands of time, no matter how hard I try to keep them.

        Luna has been gone only months, so most of the fine points are still there, but Mama and Daddy have been gone a strange number of years. In many ways, I feel like they were here just yesterday, but I no longer can hear their voices as clearly as I once could. I forget the exact words of certain conversations that once were engraved upon my brain. The looks of approval or reprimand are gone, and I see only the most basic facial expressions when I picture them.

        Now I mourn the loss of memories almost as much as I mourn whom they involve.

        As with most unfortunate matters, however, the dullness of the memories does bring some benefit. The recollection of that soul crushing sadness that I experienced in the days, weeks, and months after losing major pieces of my life has also dimmed. Now, I can think upon the things in my life that I loved beyond measure and have lost, and I can smile — not just on the surface, but also in my heart. I can think of the moments when I first came to know that Daddy, or Mama, or Luna was gone, and I can feel immense gratitude for the ones who surrounded me with love and support and not focus on the way that the breath was sucked right out of me. The pain has faded more, even, than the memories.

       I describe the loss of a loved one as a jagged, sucking chasm of a hole torn in one’s heart. Over time, the hole doesn’t seem to heal, but the chasm does begin to fill as it sucks your sorrow into it. That sorrow abrades the edges, and with time, they become less raw, less jagged. Eventually, it no longer draws away your breath, and somewhere along the way, you’re able to breathe deeply again without sobbing. The price is the details.

       So I take more pictures, and I journal more. I’m even trying to make more shaky, poor quality videos on my phone. I back up the best voicemails on my Google Drive, and most of all, I am trying harder to pay attention, to savor every moment, to give each memory more details — so that when I call them up later, maybe I have filled them with so many teeny, tiny things that time can’t take them all.

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