Monday, January 19, 2015

Sad fact: I will be forgotten

“Augustus, perhaps you’d like to share your fears with the group.”
“My fears?”
“I fear oblivion,” he said without a moment’s pause. “I fear it like the proverbial blind man who’s afraid of the dark.”

~ Augustus Waters, "The Fault in Our Stars" 

I had an experience yesterday that's not letting me settle...won't let me stop thinking... 

It was my oldest daughter's wedding. Everything had been beautiful, with the appropriately timed tears. 

After the ceremony as we were preparing for photos, the photographer said something that sorta' snuck up behind me and threw a phone cord around my neck and choked away all my emotional control. 

She said, "Let's get a picture of you with your mom and dad."

I felt totally helpless like you do when you feel like you're about to throw up and there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop it...Or, like how you'd feel if you were being choked by a madman!

I had to excuse myself and was soon not even able to catch my breath.

See...shortly before my daughter's 11th birthday in 1998 her real dad...who I'd been with since I was 16...was hit by a jackknifed tractor trailer on his way to work...and killed. 

That boy/man who was there when I was 17 and just found out my life was over because I was still in HS and pregnant...the one who was there with me those 36 hours of labor...the one who was there when she was born...the one who took care of her when she was a baby...the one who cared for her as a single dad while I was away being the loser I was for 3 years...he...wasn't there. 

He'd been denied that privilege. 

There was a song that was popular on the radio back in 1998...

She'll change her name today.
She'll make a promise and I'll give her away.
Standing in the bride-room just staring at her.
She asked me what I'm thinking and I said
"I'm not sure-I just feel like I'm losing my baby girl."
She leaned over

Gave me butterfly kisses with her mama there,
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair
"Walk me down the aisle, Daddy-it's just about time."
"Does my wedding gown look pretty, Daddy? Daddy, don't cry"
Oh, with all that I've done wrong I must have done something right.
To deserve her love every morning and butterfly kisses

17 years ago...whenever that song came on it would make me cry because I would think about how "someday"...he wouldn't be there. 

And, someday finally happened. 
It was yesterday. 
He wasn't there...

I really did NOT want to be upset at that moment. 

It was my daughter's wedding! It was her day! A happy time!
And! I might be 45 but I'm still a girl. I didn't want to look awful for pictures for either me or for my daughter's sake. I had taken a lot of time to do my make up and I did not WANT to be crying. Not at all. 

Plus...I remarried 2 1/2 yrs later and so since my daughter was 13 she's had a dad in her life and he was standing right there next to her...waiting to smile for a picture with the daughter he'd just walked down the aisle...wondering what the heck was wrong with me and why I was falling apart?

I got a grip as fast as I could. 

But then...something else I didn't expect happened...

I felt like people...were upset...AT me...
Not for me. Not with me. 
At me,

Everyone who saw my tears, which I had no control over and was fighting, were upset with me for being upset. I felt like they found it disrespectful to my husband and an unhappy intrusion on what was supposed to be a happy occasion.

One person upon finding out what I was actually crying about  actually said, disgusted, "That's what you're crying about?" 

Now...I totally appreciate that everyone wanted my live husband to not feel bad. one was interested in the fact that the bride's "real" dad was missing this moment! And that I...for those moments...cared! Everyone just wanted me to let it go. To stop. To just...freakin' stop.


I think what if it had been me? 

What if it had been me who died in 1998? What if yesterday had happened and...some other lady would have been standing there smiling for that picture and...really? No one would have batted an eye? 

No one would have remembered me

And, really? If the surviving spouse would have dared take 5 minutes to remember me...everyone would have been irritated with him for it?

How can anyone in the world who is currently OK with this? 

Am I the only one bothered by this? 

Do I suffer from some bizarre condition that only freaks have?

I remember how after he died back in 1998, it hit me that now...he was part of history. He had nothing left to do. He was just like Abraham Lincoln or George Washington. Just a part of history...and that the only thing about him that would remain would be the things we remember about him or do "in his name." I suppose that's why people name libraries and start foundations in loved one's keep part of them alive.

I have talked to my husband about it and he, too, thought it was weird that there was no mention of the dead father whatsoever. Nothing like a simple photo frame by the entrance by the wedding bulletins with a picture of him and her when she was little in memoriam. Nothing like a little note at the bottom of the bulletin anywhere mentioning him. 

At the wedding it was as though this man who in life, would have killed or died for her, just never existed.

So, again I think about it, "What if it was me who'd died?" 

I know what if. I'm seeing it. I'm seeing what my family would do...and to think that...if I family would be offended by me being remembered and mourned for 5 minutes at my child's hurts. It hurts that THAT is reality. That is this world. That is life after death. 

It's not even just that I will be forgotten because people naturally forget...but people will come to a point where they will insist on forgetting and insist on other people forgetting, too.  

And, then I look at my "live" husband...and feel said and wonder for him? He's currently got a 13, 11, 9 and 6 year old that we've made together. So...what about that 11 year old daughter? I look at her and imagine if he died "today" and imagine her getting married someday...and me feeling sad for his loss that day...and someone asking me, "That's what you're upset about?"

It hurts. It just freakin' hurts.

What the heck?

“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I guess I can't get over that this is real life. That this is my future. All that makes me "me" is going to just be...gone. Forgotten. And, at a certain point, even those who do remember will not be welcome to do that remembering.

There is no remembrance of earlier things; 
And also of the later things which will occur... 

...There will be for them no remembrance
Among those who will come later still.
Ecclesiastes 1

This is a world I'm not OK with.

...and it will come to pass

Funny one son said to me tonight about this, "You're having an existential crisis." Suddenly...when he said it this way...this all felt..."cool." 


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