I always worried that I would forget everything. Forget his face, forget his voice, forget the details of our life. But memory has a will of its own. Little things, innocuous things, bring parts of our life rushing back.
So many people are afraid that time will take away their memories, the last pieces of love they’ve stored away. We think we’ve forgotten so much, but our minds are far better historians than we can imagine. We have memories stitched so deeply into our beings, it takes very little to bring them out. Today, a post from year four of my own grief.
weird little things
today, I cancelled the p.o. box I have had for ten years
the one that still gets mail for you
They won’t be forwarded
the catalogs and advertisements
mailed to you
as I hesitate to click –
I won’t see your name
inside a pile of mail again
outside the post office
was where I first recognized you
in an unfamiliar place
all those years ago
when we first met
knowing it was you
from the back
from your shape,
from how you walked and held yourself.
This morning, I continued to clean out
dumping old spices you’d kept
dumping old packages of things
we wouldn’t eat even if you were here to make them.
One more clean out of the closet
I discard and take back the dress I wore
to your funeral
(a word, three and a half years out, I still cannot bring myself to say out loud)
the dress my mother chose.
I won’t ever wear it again, but I am not ready to let it go.
In one bottom dresser drawer
I find your old wool pants
willing myself to put them in the pile
of things that need to go.
I don’t associate them with you anyway.
I check the pockets just in case.
Just in case.
Inside, one poop bag, stuffed in your pocket
for a winter snowy dog walk.
And I stand there,
crumpled pants in my hands
trying not to cry
sifting through my mind to find an image of you
late at night
your brown scarf looped stylishly around your neck
your hands stuffed in the pockets of these green pants
as you walk backwards, skipping