Fading into Memory (the cruelest stage of grief)

Wed 15 November 2023 by R.L. Dane

Content Warning: This post deals with grief

Yet again, I had planned to write about healthy mourning, and yet again, what's on my mind being hijacked by what's rattling around in my heart.

There is this innocent, necessary, and healthy stage of mourning that is also so terribly cruel: the fading of the departed into memory. I recall when my stepdad died many years ago, the image in my mind of him was slowly flattened and compressed over the years into just a few brief scenes and phrases: the larger-than-life aspect of the memory of someone living was slowly lost as the brain relentlessly categorizes, compresses, files, and puts away what was once a vibrant and present memory.

I came home tonight and did what I've done every day for the past five weeks: I called out my cat. I've done it to acknowledge his presence in my life, to acknowledge who he was to me, and to honor his memory.

But tonight, it felt different. It felt... customary. Perfunctory. Merely symbolic. The house felt more empty than ever, and I was ok with it.
My new normal.

Hmmm. This is good. This is natural, and what must needs happen for the living to continue living.
And yet, I kind of hate it.