This past weekend, we finally made a trip up to Canada to see Jeremy's completed grave stone (I may blog more about this later). It's been done for a month and a half now and we haven't been able to get up there before now and it's been tearing at me. I'm so glad we finally got to go see it. It doesn't feel right for something to be done for/about/in honor of him and not be a part of it, because he's a part of me.
I'm always so glad to get up there. Not just to Jeremy's grave (although I strangely look forward to going, perhaps because I know I can't just go anytime and I feel Jer there) but I really ache when I'm away too long. I miss Jeremy's family. My family. I miss his presence that's always in the midst of whatever we're doing there. I miss the familiar smells, faces, and places that are just him. They are not associated with anyone else.
I noticed something happening this trip though. It's happened once or twice before, randomly, but it always catches me off guard and leaves me frustrated and on the verge of tears.
I started to forget.
It's small things. This weekend, while sitting around during our ritual late night conversation filled with inappropriate jokes and bodily sounds (very Jeremy-esque), I suddenly heard in my head the sound of Jeremy burping. Ya know, that manly burp that's loud and obnoxious - he was always so proud of it. Well, he used to try to burp the alphabet and see how far he could get, or more often, he would burp "Ralph Forfar" - don't ask me why. But for a split second, I couldn't remember that name. His sisters had to help me remember, while I choked back tears for forgetting.
It seems trivial and silly, but anyone who has lost someone close understands how scary it can be when pieces of the ones you love start slipping. You suddenly forget the feeling of them next to you, just for a moment, and it scares you half to death. Or you can't remember the name of that one place you went to together, or exactly what started that inside joke. Or for me, not remembering the exact phrase that Jeremy used to repeat all the time from a french cartoon he watched as a kid. It was the only french he could remember and he recalled it anytime someone asked him if knew French (cause apparently all Canadians are supposed to). I can hear the inflection in my head. I can see his facial expressions. But the piece left me for awhile and made me angry with tears every time I tried to remember it.
It taps into my biggest fear: people forgetting Jeremy. If I can't remember a detail about Jeremy and I was closest person to him, who's to say others won't forget things too? Obvious, that's an irrational thought, but grief is not rational. It plays with your every emotion, every insecurity, every fear. It sneaks up and rearranges every puzzle piece you've tried to put back together in your life only to change the picture that was on the puzzle to begin with. The pieces never fit back together like they used to and when the pieces you've held onto the tightest start slipping, it threatens the very breath and life of you.
My only comfort in these moments are focusing on the things I do remember. The things I will NEVER forget. And the things that are only mine. Ours. I'll carry those with me in my heart wherever I go til the day I die.