The Fall of Remembering

It’s been cool and dark in the mornings this week, making it more difficult to crawl out of my cozy bed as early as I usually do. This morning it is raining, and we have been without rain for so long I actually did a happy little rain dance in front of my tomato plants as they drank it in.

[I was wearing my bubble gum pink bathrobe with embroidered cocktails as I did this, and all I can say is, Praise Jesus for tall fences!]

The house is quiet, except for Thomas’ cooing, and I have the urge to play Christmas music.

I love the fall, wearing jeans again, lighting candles and creating atmosphere in my home, making dinners that slowly roast in the oven, meals with soups and sauces.

This fall I enter into a season of remembrance. It was this time last year we learned that Gordy would not be getting better, which set a chain reaction of denial, acceptance, and last goodbyes.

I was talking to my mom the other day about her upcoming trip to the Minnesota State Fair. It’s one of the largest and best fairs in the country, and I’ve actually planned trips home to coincide with the fair because I miss it so much.

Gordy loved the fair, so I asked my mom what his favorite attractions were. She mentioned machinery hill where the farm equipment was on display, the dairy barn where he always had a malt, the pronto pups, watching the live TV broadcasts from the network booths, and then there were the years Gordy entered his photography into the art competitions.

We both began to cry as we remembered.

But as my mom sobbed, she said that she worried about forgetting things – his smell, the sound of his voice, significant events, everyday things.

I know this feeling of wanting to hang onto everything, I think that’s why I take so many pictures and display them in photo albums and scrapbooks. Years ago I filled up an entire photo album with pictures from just one quarter of college because I wanted to document EVERYTHING.

Last week when I got together with some girlfriends, and don’t even remember what we were talking about, but Alecia quoted a line from the movie Clue about the “flames burning on the side of my face!”

As she said this, she glanced sideways at me with a knowing smirk on her face, and my eyes went wide as I shot straight up in my seat.

“OH MY LORD!” I exclaimed in my usual drama “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU REMEMBERED THAT!”

We both laughed at this inside joke as the other gals looked on without a clue.

One line quoted from one movie we saw fifteen years ago brought back to me more than just the movie. It flooded all my senses with smells of popcorn, the sight of the bunch of us cozied on the sectional in the dorm lounge like newborn puppies, the nausea of staying up until 5:30am watching the same funny movie over and over again, only it’s not so much that the movie is funny, but that the people you are watching it with are ridiculously silly.

I took a picture of that night, never wanting to forget it.

But still, I forgot.

Until Alecia reached down into the recesses of my mind and pulled out one phrase from that evening, and all was remembered.

I told my mom this story, hoping to comfort her. I reassured her that even if some things slipped from the front of her mind, her memories would always be stored deep inside. One day someone will say a word, or she’ll see something, or smell something, and it will remind her of something she hadn’t thought of for a long time.

And she will simultaneously laugh and cry as she remembers, aching in her loss, but joyous in the memories.

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