Trauma brain is amazing. Or crazy. Or perhaps amazingly crazy. Crazily amazing?
Whatever the case, I’m constantly surprised at my brain. Specifically, it’s ability to forget and remember, but mostly forget.
An acquaintance posted a song they wrote about remembering past lovers. Just a few days ago I was thinking that I don’t remember large parts of my last relationship; one that lasted five years and spanned cancer, multiple job changes, a graduation, three births, a wedding, and a divorce, amongst other notable events.
I remember the big events. I struggle to remember to pieces in between. What it was like to wake up or go to bed. The evenings cooking in the kitchen or sitting on the porch. The long road trips replete with stops for McDonald’s french fries. I forget the conversations we had about dreams and growing old. Did we have this conversations? I assume we did. I forget the arguments-most of them. The tender moments. I am sure that all of these things happened. I know they did. But I can’t recall them. And I wonder, is this normal? Or is it a special skill of my brain to forget?
Right now as my partner and I land after a trip to Israel, plan for our next trip to visit Tennessee, and anticipate the changes in our lives over the next year, I keep hoping that I will remember the conversations we have, the feelings we share, the struggles we overcome together, the laughter we enjoy, and the new experiences we create.
I want to recall the gentle emails we sent to each other while negotiating taxes and finances. The breakfast he cooked me on Sunday mornings, so we could snuggle on the couch together with brunch. I want to relive my excited tears and then laughter while calling him to share good news of my acceptance to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. How I sat on the floor of the kitchen bent over with emotion. Pure happiness for us both. My shocked joy in hearing from Hopkins, and the questions that arose with more options. I want to feel the warmth of him spooning me the first night after a week of sleeping apart on single beds laid next to each other in the same room. Knowing I was home- with him. I want to recall the creases of his face – his furrowed brow- as he handed me the coffee that he did not want to buy for me, in Israel, as I was pouting and struggling to be grateful. And his honesty when I expressed my surprise in receiving a coffee; telling me that he did not want to buy it, but he did. Opposite to emotion action. A place of willing gentleness. I want to remember folding the laundry so he could shovel the snow from around the truck. Receiving forehead kisses before he headed in to work. His delight in making cheesy-rotel and tortilla chips for breakfast the morning after. My dismay and his indignation at hearing that my boss declined to give me time off to visit campuses – one of which may be our home for the next five years. The planning a quiet weekend and time spent recuperating with cuddles and, perhaps, soup and friends.
It’s the little things I’m afraid I’ll forget, as all the big events become anchors in my mind. I do so want to keep remembering all of the little things.