I am terrified I am going to forget him. Like what he sounded like, what he did on a day-to-day basis. How he smiled – how he came into a room straight to me and rub my back. How he use to sit by me on the couch. How he ate, chewed, watched TV with his mouth open. How he laughed.
I am just scared.
The more time – the worse the memory.
– – –
When grieving you don’t know if letting go of the pain will erase your loved one’s memory from your mind. You are scared of letting go of the tears because in a way, you are scared you are letting go of them. You think to yourself, “If I don’t cry, does it mean I don’t love them as much as I did before? If I don’t think of them every second of every day, does that mean they will be erased from my memory?”
After Doug was killed, I grew terrified because I recognized the more time away, the less specifics I remembered. I was worried if my pain “went away” or my tears “lessened,” I would be letting him go. I actually remember writing the above journal post as the tears dripped from my chin.
In the months after Doug was killed, I remember laughing and then catching myself and thinking, “Why am I laughing? I’m not happy.” And then my lips would curl down and my momentary joy would extinguish, all because I didn’t want to forget him. In the pain, in the tears, he seemed more real somehow.
I hesitate to write what I want to write next, but this blog is about truth. So here goes . . .
The tears never go away either. Don’t fear your tears going away. They will lesson. They will diminish, but they will not stop. The pain will still be real. The wound will still be there. Time filles the hole, but the wound remains. That might sound depressing, but if you think about it, it is reassuring. If the wound disappeared, that would mean something else replaced them. That is not truth. Joy can fill the wound. Hope can thrive in the wound. Happiness can grow from the wound. But the wound is still the wound.
I would never want my wound to go away. No one who has suffered a loss would want that either. So in actuality, this is good news. You can live with the wound and have joy with the wound. Then miraculously, the wound becomes part of who you are. It makes you better. It strengthens your fear. Good things grow from the wound and those good things light up the darkness. And joy reigns!
So stop fearing you will forget them, because it is just that – a fear. You will still remember. Time doesn’t take your loved one away. And if you follow my blog, you know quite the opposite has happened to me. Because of Doug, I am making a career of shouting out to everyone that God is GOOD. And every time I write, Doug is in my mind. Still fresh. Still alive. Still my Doug.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12;24
I can now look back and see all the good that has come from the worst experience of my life. I put my story down on paper and there are days I hear how much it has meant to someone else. Sometimes, someone like my friend’s daughter, actually comes to faith.
Just yesterday my mother called to say one of her friends had left a message on her answering machine. As my mother pushed “play,” you could hear the emotion in the woman’s voice, “I just finished reading Nic’s book. Amazing. It is the most inspirational thing I have ever read. Thank her. Thank her for sharing her story.”
And that’s not all.
Doug’s mom has started the Doug DiCenzo Camp Fund in Doug’s honor, allowing kids in New England to go to summer camps when they can’t afford it. Now kids from all over New England learn about Doug when they apply for financial assistance to live their dreams.
Doug has been gone for 6 years now, actually longer if you count his time in Iraq. I can say with all honesty, I love him more now than I did then. I am sure all his friends and family can say the same. And the memories don’t go away. Believe me, they will never go away. Important ones never do.
So stay strong. Stand firm. And when you can and want to laugh – laugh! Your wound will shake, but it will not shatter. You wouldn’t want it to, would you?
e-mail me at nicsrevelations.com