One of the things that infuriated me when Carolyn died when I was a kid was the feeling that everyone else had forgotten about her. Within weeks, days.
We don’t actually forget that quickly. Not those who were close. Not those who cared deeply during life. The ones who forget are the ones who didn’t know the person. Who didn’t know Carolyn, who didn’t know Jay. When they express grief, it’s real enough. But it’s at a remove. The grief they’re feeling is for us, not themselves. They didn’t have a hole ripped in their life. They didn’t have a part of their soul torn away. Their world didn’t change. But they know ours did.
So they offer sympathy. It’s what humans do. We see another person in pain and our mirror neurons flare and we offer what comfort we can. And if those people move on and don’t remember the loss next week, that’s fine. That’s normal.
But those who grieve… we often do ourselves a disservice. We become silent after the first few days. The first few weeks. We become silent and grapple with it alone. Perhaps because we feel there’s nothing else to be said. Perhaps because we don’t want to intrude on others and keep repeating ourselves. Perhaps because we measure our grief and think it must be so much less than that of others… wife, husband, child, sister. But it doesn’t matter.
We leave each other alone when we’re least capable of handling it.
I haven’t forgotten. I think of Jay every day. I think of the Child and Lisa and Jay’s parents (all three) and Mother of the Child, and Jay’s sister, and Ken and Jen and everyone else hurting. I don’t want to force my grief on them. I don’t want to drag them back into pain if they’ve managed, even for a moment, to forget the hurt. I just want to say I remember.
I remember Jay. I remember what you’ve lost. I remember you.