I can’t remember what started it, but last night Adam decided to start talking about the period of time when we first met. 18 years is a long time for me to try think back, especially when it comes to remembering people and the things that they said and didn’t say. For some reason, he still finds it hard to accept that I really don’t remember much of it. We had initially been introduced by one of his ex-girlfriends who I worked with at the time. It was some months later that we met in a nightclub and, well, let’s say our life together sprung from that point. He has told me many times, that in the time between those two meetings, he had watched my comings and goings from a rock bar we both frequented. For some reason, he has never been able to accept, that I have no memory of ever seeing him during that time, not even once. Last night he persisted but I couldn’t remember even the people he kept talking about. I know that I actually became quite abrupt with him, but I have no memory of the things he was speaking about. My life has been slowly vanishing for years now, I remember the important things, the major events, but things like parties, meetings in pubs and people I spent time talking to, even some I know were friends, all the details are now gone.
I guess that a good example is something like the festivals I attended. Outside of the headline act, I don’t remember who else was there to entertain. I just remember spending a day sat on the grass drinking warm cider. Even the performance of those headliners are now gone, no songs remembered no stage acts preserved, all gone. It has just become another day. As I said, I remember the day Adam and I truly met, how we walked from the club across the bridge and trying, trying so hard to get him to go away when I found out he was 20, 17 years younger than me and was something that wasn’t going to happen. The words no, or how it took us two hours to walk what normally took ten minutes, all those details are now gone. As are the dates, the time spent together, all gone. I remember going to Arran for a week, what we did there is a mixed blur of bonfires on the beach and walks on the hills, followed by evenings in the pub. What we talked about while there, is all gone, just the result on the night we returned to Glasgow, as that was the night we became engaged. I remember the words around that hour, but the rest is gone.
My entire life now is like that, just the structure, not the decoration, the frippery that makes life sing, it’s all missing. It is as though my life has become nothing other than events and feeling. Oh god, do I remember the feelings. In many ways, it is the feeling that trigger the memory of the event. I remember that feeling of being drawn to Adam, how within days I couldn’t bear being away from him, and when together, I couldn’t stand not touching him, that need to be as close as space and propriety would allow. I remember all that as clearly as I remember falling into the hollow pits of hell, the feeling as my heart was ripped from me, and of it being shredded and how death would have been a joy, the day my son died. My entire life is now all procession of feelings, feelings I appear unable to forget, but the details, the words, the people who surrounded me, they are either gone or fading, disappearing like ghosts as they drift slowly into the fog. And trust me, there is a lot of fog.
Losing your memory isn’t like there is a chosen date where everything is cut off, and with each day that passes, that date also moves on. There are no clean lines, there are no types of memory or categories that fade faster or slower. Things just go. For me, the first I lost were names and not just names from the past, but the names of people and places, I still really should have known. Just like the people, I all to often have forgotten their voices and their words, unless, those words held feeling. I remember many painful events from childhood on, but just a few of the good. I know there have to be more, no one could have a life with so much pain, without some balance of pleasure. Yet until twenty-five years ago, I can find little else. I know that it had to be there, I know as I can feel the gaps, I know that those gaps are there, and every gap I find, good or bad, it’s maddening and painful in its own way. Just as I can’t remember the things I am supposed to be doing today, I don’t remember most of my past. Today, yesterday or forty years ago, what isn’t there, hold a powerful pain. I may forget to eat, to have a shower or whatever, just as I now struggle to remember who attended our wedding or what speeches were read, or even by whom, or if any at all.
We don’t choose, we don’t mean to anger or hurt, we just don’t remember and none of what we have forgotten was by choice. All our lives are precious and what happens in them important to all involved, but ours are vanishing, ours are no longer there to supply the conversations of today. There is a frustration in knowing that life was so much more, in knowing that all the colour and vigour is gone. It’s a bit like being cheated out of life, what was the point when you can’t remember when you can’t share and laugh at what happened? What was the point of living it all, if it is no longer there? Why live today, if it will be forgotten tomorrow? But of course, we do, of course, we live, because the one thing that doesn’t seem to fade, that doesn’t vanish is the most important feeling of all, love.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 16/04/2014 – Self-inflicted
There are those days that just seem to pass without thought or true feeling, days when you don’t actually know, or care, what will happen next, as whatever happens will be right. It has felt for a while now as thought I would never have one of those days again as I have done nothing but worry about one thing after another, days where I have been chasing my tail and convinced that the only good point will be when I eventually manage to go to bed. I don’t know what made the true change, may be just at last having my mind settled over where my Mother is and how she is, but something changed yesterday and all those feelings of pressure left. I wasn’t any more able to keep up…..