Author Topic: Keeper of the Memories  (Read 1166 times)

canadiangirl

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Keeper of the Memories
« on: October 04, 2016, 05:49:36 PM »
This is a stress for widow(er)s with kids and without, but I am going to park it here for now. 

My small one was 5 when DH died, only just, and is beginning to forget DH, and feels badly for it.

We have had little to do with DH's family since his death (they are just not present, emotionally or physically), and they live far away.  My parents prefer not to speak of DH for a variety of (valid) reasons, but do on occasion. 

So I'm the keeper of the memories, and it's an added low-level but ever-present stress.  I have no time to do all I wish to do for my child, rescue the 100s of photos I took of them from my dead laptop (I am just praying they are still there), edit and string together videos, write down stories about DH.  I actually did not know my DH for a long time, and things were in high stress mode for much of our life together.  I am trying to keep his memory "alive" and also trying to find that balance between speaking of him and honouring my child's wish to sometimes NOT speak of DH.

I so wish my DH were here to tell his own stories again.  Is anyone else having the same struggles trying to ensure memories are somehow captured for the kids (and for oneself)?  It's one.more.overwhelming.thing here.  And I am gearing up to do some of the same work with my parents before they're gone too...


hikermom

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Re: Keeper of the Memories
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2016, 06:54:21 PM »
You nailed it. That is completely a concern for me. My daughter was 8 when he died. Some things she remembers pretty well, others she really has rewritten in her head, including memories from the day he died.

The hardest part for me is that I was never the one that was good about remembering things. I relied on my husband for that - he could recall details that I just never bothered with. I'm sure I've done some rewriting of memories myself just because I have a horrible recall for details.

I think this is a compounded grief. On the one hand, I want our daughter to know so many of the stories that together build a full picture of our life together with her father. It is a way for her to know who he was beyond just her dad. It is also important to me because he was just too important a person to fade into vague memories. Although he won't fade, the details grow fuzzier as time passes. He becomes more illusory and less a man of flesh and substance.

Finally, a very personal loss is that for 23 years, my life was so entwined with his. With the physical loss of him, that was stopped abruptly. The loss of memories, or fading of memories is just one more loss. I'm tired of loss.

You are not alone. I think this is something we all feel the heavy burden of.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows ...
and this is the wonder that?s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
~ e.e.cummings

tybec

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Re: Keeper of the Memories
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2016, 07:14:46 PM »
Yes, keeper of the memories.  Another task, burden, responsibility.  My son was 8 when DH died in a car accident.  My DH had a large extended family though he was an only child.  I asked for my son's 13th birthday for folks to write a story, letter, anything about his father for me to collect for him.  I had 20 years with him prior to having our son, 28 together.  I have so much, and my son has so little.  I Hate that.  I had some folks respond I never would have thought would take the time.  I had ONE of his family members out of 25 cousins, 80 family members,  several in the same age range by 5 yrs.  So strange to me who chose to write and who didn't.  I put a book together.  My son looked at it some, but did not seem to be engrossed.  After reading Portsides' post, I decided it may take years for him to appreciate it.

My DH had a bible study at church called "Letters from Dad."  Exercises on writing letters to those important to you and guides.  For men who are not demonstrative in a written manner, a big deal. Also, my DH had no dad, not even a name.   I have my letter he produced.  Around my son's 10th birthday, I found the portfolio with his beginning notes to a letter for our son.  Treasures.   

But yes, another task for us.  Tough. 
« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 07:21:15 PM by tybec »

Julester3

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Re: Keeper of the Memories
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2016, 10:53:09 PM »
I am lucky that I am an avid scrapbooker. My one regret is that I spent so much on time on the kids' albums, activities we'd do, holidays, and our vacations that I didn't work on an album for just him or even really chronicling our own love story. We have been together a long time so I am collecting pictures and will need to do reprints.

FYI, you can get pictures pulled off an old laptop if you can get to a tech person with the right connectors and software. I had to do that myself since we had 2 dead PC towers holding old digital pictures hostage.

What makes it challenging for me is recalling our history together. I have been typing it up and boy is high school super fuzzy. College is also getting fuzzy. I type up a little at a time and right now I'm on a break because I got to a time where LH's mom took me out to lunch and asked me to break up with her son so he could finish rushing for his Jewish frat and find a nice Jewish girl at school. We went to different colleges. I recalled the shock at her audacity, the hurt and the anger. So as you can imagine, I'm really residually pissed off at my MIL right now. I never thought I would ever have to try to recount our love story. I am glad LH and I were huge talkers and so I do know some of his perspective on some events but certainly not everything. For my birthday this year I simply asked for Josh stories from other people so I could capture impressions he left on other people but so few accommodated me. I was disappointed.

canadiangirl

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Re: Keeper of the Memories
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2016, 05:45:12 AM »
I think this is a compounded grief...It is also important to me because he was just too important a person to fade into vague memories. Although he won't fade, the details grow fuzzier as time passes. He becomes more illusory and less a man of flesh and substance.

Finally, a very personal loss is that for 23 years, my life was so entwined with his. With the physical loss of him, that was stopped abruptly. The loss of memories, or fading of memories is just one more loss. I'm tired of loss.

This.  Thanks for articulating exactly why I feel this stress - he was too important to let fade. And yes, it is one more loss.  It breaks my heart a little again, even 3 years on.

Tybec, Portside's post was a comfort here as well. The reaction to memories is hit or miss. I hope that I am reading your post wrong and more than 1 of 105 family members responded to your call for memories.   I seriously would treasure that Letter from Dad- priceless.

Julester, yes I am hoping the data can be retrieved by the right company.  I periodically look at my dead Macbook and tamp down panic that it cannot - must deal with this head-on one day.  Your scrapbooking sounds amazing.  And yes, it is so strange to also be the keeper of the love story. And the recounting of and cataloguing of the memories I think is something of a burden precisely because it also does bring up such emotion...

I am sorry more people did not respond to your birthday request for memories.  I asked for written memories in lieu of flowers at DH's funeral - many did not respond, those who did gave my child and me a treasure.  I wish people knew how meaningful it is to have some of the burden even temporarily lifted through such small acts of kindness.

Thanks all for responding.  It does help knowing one is not alone.

Mrskro

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Re: Keeper of the Memories
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2016, 06:04:25 AM »
Canadiangirl;

I hear you.  My DH's best friend and I were talking a couple days ago about this.  My son just started high school and wanted to know about his Dad's experiences in high school.  He was upset that I always tell my stories but not his dad's.   But they aren't my stories, I wasn't there for them.  J (the best friend) said, "well then, I'll just have to pull the boy aside and whisper some of those to him then!"  He lives in a different province but we've made plans to get together the next time he comes back to our hometown.

My husband's parents have passed away and my BIL lives in Europe so we don't have alot of contact with his family.  Really just at Christmas now.  So the memories are really just mine now.  sometimes it feels like an impossible task to keep all the memories alive.

As for the laptop.  I had one die too, and a company was able to revive it enough to pull the entire photo file and documents off of it!   Hold on to hope for that!

ieh21

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Re: Keeper of the Memories
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2016, 04:27:12 PM »
I agree that there is a high-level of stress that we feel to be the keeper of memories. But memories are organised is so many different ways, keeping them doesn't have to be a project.

I say this partially because I feel guilty about finding a wonderful stash of childhood and his family photos, letting them sit long enough that they became all rolled up and still not doing anything to save them. But I also believe it: we have some picture montages on the walls of trips we took together, and I left a few of "his" decorative pieces lying around. So there are objects around which to focus when I tell them stories. He remains part of our daily lives this way. His "presence" is tangible. And I tell them stories as inspiration strikes. We're eating salmon, and I'll tell them how it was his favourite food.

It's not a perfect system. But at the end of the day, it's not a perfect life either. And we cannot with our memories and artefacts do the impossible, which is to keep them alive.

Ursula

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Re: Keeper of the Memories
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2017, 09:30:22 PM »
Keeper of the memories, yes, and it is as epic as it sounds. I am the sole keeper here, we only knew eachother 6 years, lived together four, our son was two when we lost him. It is a task of epic proportions and we can only fill in such small things. I am on the lookout like a hawk to shield our child from thoughtless comments from my family who did not like Alex particularly and we had too little time to have more memories.  Our boy only remembers what I tell him, I realise as time goes on how fuzzy everything gets It. hurts to see ones children have no memory of their father or mother. I have not managed to write down our story for fear of the pain which I know is cowardly but I just could not bring myself to do it yet...
I hope you can save your pictures from old mac, picture files seem to survive crashes though, so keeping fingerd crossed. Pictures are very powerful. I made a photobook for Alex s son from before we knew eachother, with whom we are in touch , and I think he treasured it, even though it must have knocked him. off his feet , he is only twelve
. I just put all the pictures I found of them togehter in a book. And they tell a story.
Memories are tough.
all the best.
Por que tu fuego a?n me quema, sin ti las noches son eternas,
tu aroma sigue aqu?, no me deja ir.. Por m?s que intente y quiera olvidarte, yo nunca lograre dejarte, cautivo de este amor sincero esclavo de tu voz.. Por que estoy am?ndote, so??ndose, aunque no est?s aqu?..
Y yo te esperare, amor aunque los a?os lleguen sin querer (Marc Anthony)