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Fall is here. I can no longer ignore it. With the windows wide open last night, I cuddled up with my book in flannel pants, a long sleeved shirt and my wool slippers. I had to dig for the slippers. They were way in the back with things like boots and clogs, the likes of which I still refuse to wear. I will don open toed shoes and flip flops until it snows. And even after that, the jury will still be out. I've decided that I must get over my irrational fear of winter or I'm not going to enjoy the fall. I catch myself wandering into the past or future and have to force my thoughts back into the moment. I try so hard to capture the present moments. I have to. It slips by so fast.
 
I've always loved photo albums. I pore over them every time I visit my parents. My friend Carrie seems to remember everything about us growing up. She can rattle off the names of plays that we were in and what parts everyone had. She remembers where our orchestra trips were, what the show choir did each year and where we all lived. I can't. I used to think there was something pathologically wrong with me that I couldn't remember anything about my childhood. And then when I dug deeper along that vein, I discovered that I don't really remember anything about even my adult life. Remembering last year is a process of going back through my blog and computer files. Of course, I was convinced I had some sort of long/short term memory loss problem, but no. I simply have not been able to stay in the moments that I'm in. I have always been so self conscious, lived so bound inside my thoughts, that I can't experience what I'm living. I hate that about myself, so I drag my head into the present. It wanders. I drag it back. And it walks away again. I don't know how to do it yet, but I'm trying. That's why I love pictures so much. I need them to take myself back there. And it's why I have put the albums with The Dead Guy in the bottom bin in the hall closet. If I want to see him, I have to excavate three very large and heavy storage bins. He needs the weight to keep him buried down there where he belongs. My journals are in there too. Pictures and words. That's how I keep my memories in order.
 
The changing of the seasons always brings him to the forefront. I'm not sure why. But I didn't get him out last night. I'm not sure I have what it takes right now to look and read. I'm much better at knowing when I'm fit enough to do so these days. Some day soon, though. I will take out each one, attach the memory to it once more and then pack them away again. Bury them deep. Getting ready for winter.

10 comments:

Lemon Gloria said...

This is lovely, Kate. Lovely.

Malaise Inc said...

I have a real problem keeping focused in the present. I will tell myself I need to do something and completely forget within a few minutes. I think alot of it has to do with my mind going in many different directions all at the same time. I wish I knew how to calm it down.

Sara said...

Please leave the Dead Guy in the closet this winter. It doesn't mean your are forgetting him -- it just means you are moving on with your life. It's easy when you get depressed to pull out the photos and pull yourself into a deeper depression. Don't do it this year. Find activities to keep you busy. Go on more trips to see your beautiful nephew. Embrace the winter and enjoy it. And try get some of those daylight bulbs, and keep them on to light up your basement apartment. Ignore the dark, dreary days! I know you can do it!

Sparkling Red said...

I love fall! This post makes me want to snuggle up in flannel pj's and a blanket with a book on the couch.

I also feel the need to occasionally go back and visit my memories. I feel I'm taking the thread of my consciousness and sewing together my life, stitching the past to the present and the present to the future, so that it all becomes a coherent whole.

The Good Cook said...

Summer ended for me on August 11th. I welcome the change of weather.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Finding the balance between moving on and never forgetting...that's one of the hardest parts of grief.

Leaves are starting to turn here too, and there's that subtle change in the air. Fall is here.

Shelley said...

Can't imagine Fall quite yet...I say crank up the heat and wear your flip flops all winter long if you want!

Interesting about not remembering much - I'm the same way.

Can do mom said...

Fall is here, too. We went from a hot, humid summer day to cool, windy, fall-like weather in the blink of an eye. WHAM! Fall is officially here no matter what the calendar says.

I'm a new follower so I don't know your history but I like what Jeff had to say about finding a balance in remembering and moving on. Grief is hard work and each person handles it in their own way. I hope you can do so without letting it consume you.

I'm glad to know that I'm the only one who forgets things. There are times when I wonder if I was really there when people talk about things that have happened in my past. I truly cannot remember a single thing from the event or gathering. It's frustrating. My memory went down the tubes after chemo but I see I'm not the only one who struggles with this! I like your idea of living in the moment. Such a good idea and SO TRUE!

Can do mom said...

Oops, I meant to say that I'm glad I'm NOT the only one who forgets things... See, I can't even remember to type it out right! It's hopeless!

KT said...

I had a lovely childhood but can't seem to remember most of the things that I did growing up. Memories just fly out of my brain like they never happened. If I don't have a picture or if a family member doesn't tell me a story, I most likely don't remember it happening. It makes me sad.