Learning to Remember

23 years. That’s approximately 68% of my life. That’s how long my dad has been dead. I know I wrote about this recently, but something hit me today and I felt the need to write again. Differently this time.

The last two years have been a sort of metamorphosis for me. I am leaving my cocoon. And it terrifies me.

The things I once forgot and hid away, are now sprouting to the surface and I am forced to remember. That’s the funny thing about traumatic events… They come back around one day. Usually when you least expect it.

For me, it happened intensely about a week after we (my siblings and I) took a tour of the places we once lived. All the things I had forgotten, came rushing back… Something I had worked a long time to keep from happening. Then more recently, in the middle of my office at work after hearing a co-worker recount a story. And again, at church after a sermon on peace. All three events very different, but all three reactions very strong.

It’s funny how the smallest things will spring forth a memory. A certain smell can almost bring me to vomiting, while a certain song can bring me to my knees in tears.

I am having to learn to remember things. Simply because, I haven’t had many memories, so I don’t understand how to remember things. Especially traumatic things.

I have to learn how to remember something without having a strong emotional response. I have to learn how to understand that I have had these horrible things happen in my life, without allowing myself to feel somehow responsible. I have to learn how to process a love that loves, but doesn’t protect.

I can’t process these things. Emotionally, I am a mess right now. My brain is so full of emotional trauma that I can’t keep up with normal daily things. I find myself apologizing for things forgotten many times a day. I find myself on the brink of what I can only understand as a breakdown. I am short on patience.

But, I am trying.

I am trying to process years of physical and emotional abuse. Trying to process memories that happened over 23 years ago. Trying to learn that I am enough, even when history has told me, I am not.

I am trying. And I fear trying will be my word for many years to come.



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