Monday, June 18, 2012

forgetting


Memory is such a strange thing. This weekend I was at my grandparents’ house for Father’s Day and my cousin was reminiscing about our holiday dinners, and how the basement used to be full of people, with two long tables that stretched across the room and family members everywhere, while all of us cousins sat beneath the stairs, hiding. I had forgotten all about this. (I’ve always coveted my cousin’s memory.) All I remembered were recent holiday gatherings – much smaller, never downstairs, and fewer of us crammed around the dining room table.

This conversation made me think of other ways that I’ve allowed the present to erase the past. Namely, I think about my grandfather and how I’m starting to forget the man he used to be, to forget what our relationship was like before the dementia set in.

I grew up in my grandparent’s house and when I was little, my grandfather used to always say, “One day you’re going to forget all about me.” Up until this weekend, I always thought that was ironic, since he’s the one who’s forgotten me. Except, as I sat with him after dinner, I realized that he was completely right. I have forgotten him. I’ve forgotten the man he was and who we once were together. And that really scares me.

I don’t want to forget things. I don’t want to forget anything. I wish I was better at just writing down the seemingly mundane things about my life, a little bit every day, so that later I can see the world not just through the lens of now, but through the lens of now, and before, and before that.

Before I forget it all.