Saturday, December 1, 2012
There are certain things that went on during the time when my dad was sick that I don't remember, especially during the last couple of weeks of his life when we were all so stressed out, so worried, so confused, so sleep-deprived, and so terrified. It's like my mind blocked out some of those things, or maybe all of my energy had to be poured into meeting Dad's needs instead of moving things over into my memory bank as he got sicker and sicker.
Sometimes something said in conversation about an event that occurred in those weeks alerts me to the fact that there is some weird amnesia-like spot that seems to have been blocked in my brain. My kids and my husband and even my friends and coworkers have mentioned things they remember from during that time that I don't. Recently, my daughter was talking about wanting to go back to a restaurant near my parents' house; she said that we had been there while my dad was in the hospital. I, however, have no remembrance of ever having gone there.
Sometimes these days a memory from during that time comes back to me from out of nowhere, and other times there is something that triggers that recollection, causing me to flash back to something that happened that I didn't remember previously.
That's what happened to me yesterday when I was driving in my car and I heard a song come on the radio that caused a memory to come flooding back:
On the Sunday after the memorial service we held in Dad's honor, my husband, my daughters, and I left my parents' house to drive back to our house. When we stopped at an exit along the way and went into the gas station, there was a song called "If You Get There Before I Do" playing on the overhead speaker. When I'd first heard it, well before Dad had gotten sick, I'd thought it was one of the saddest songs I'd ever heard, but that was nothing compared to how devastatingly sad I found it to be that day. When I recognized the song, I could hardly breathe. I made my way outside into the freezing air as fast as I could so that I didn't hear the music anymore and just stood there with tears streaming down my face until my husband and my daughters came back outside. Maybe they'd gotten used to the craziness that seemed to have become part of me in those days or maybe they didn't notice how upset I was; they didn't say anything about my hasty departure. I think I mumbled something like, "I can't listen to that song; it's a really sad one," and then we piled back into the car and I put my sunglasses on to hide my tears as we continued down the highway.