Beginning to Forget
I am beginning to forget.
I am beginning to forget the gut level pain that kept me up at night and the way it felt to walk around with my heart so constricted that I could not breathe too deeply without getting sick. I am beginning to forget all the tears and how my eyes were dry from crying too much by the end of the day. I am beginning to forget the confusion and anger that would suddenly hijack my sight so I would have to intentionally and carefully breathe to be present again. I am beginning to forget the feeling of being so lost and so directionless that even physically walking in circles felt like going somewhere.
I am thankful to the authors I read and the wise people I spoke to who suggested chronicling my process of healing because now I have a way to look back on all that and maybe someday it will make more sense that it does today. Because it already makes more sense now than it did when I was living through it.
I am also beginning to forget what it felt like to be in love. The way it felt to love someone that wholly and completely and to know how deeply I was loved and desired in return. I am beginning to forget what it felt like to have a spouse. The comfort that comes from knowing there is someone so interested in you that he will answer any phone call or text you send. I am beginning to forget what it felt like to spend everyday with someone so that you end up with a shorthand for conversations. What it felt like to be with someone you can start mid-story with and he knows exactly what you are talking about. I am even beginning to forget the silly things like what it was like to have an automatic +1 to every social gathering and not walk in alone.
Sometimes there is a reminder and everything comes flooding back. I am out late with a friend and her husband texts to make sure she is ok. “Oh yeah, that’s right. Spouses check-in with each other.” I read a poem that captures the way that being in love felt for me. “How could I have forgotten that? It’s so all-encompassing.” And sometimes the painful memories come back too. I am still working on getting my maiden name back and when I have to pick up that ugly stack of papers called “Divorce Settlement”, my heart can start constricting and it can start feeling difficult to take a breath.
I wish I could decide which things I forget and which things remain close. But I guess maybe it is better for moving forward that it all becomes a little hazy and distant. One of the best pieces of advice I read about healing came from a Rumi poem:
Trust your wound to a teacher’s surgery.
Flies collect on a wound.
They cover it,
those flies of your self-protecting feelings,
your love for what you think is yours.
Let a Teacher wave away the flies
and put a plaster on the wound.
Don’t turn your head.
at the bandaged place.
the Light enters you.
And don’t believe for a moment
that you’re healing yourself.
The poem feels like a challenge to hold my memories and the healing process loosely. To stand with open palms instead of closed fists and trust the surgery and the bandages to be effective. So I have tried and sometimes been more successful than others. But when I realize that maybe some of my happy memories are leaving my hands instead of just the pain, it can be tempting to close my fists (and heart) up tight again.
But I am not healing myself. I am trying to trust the Surgeon. And maybe part of healing is forgiving and forgetting – even the really lovely things.