Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Remembering and Forgetting


My husband’s memorial is in three days, and I am only now knuckling down to write up my comments. (Yes, I do have to write out what I will say. I have only once ever given a talk based only on notes, and I have given many talks. I’m good at writing the way I speak.)
            It is not easy. First, it has to be about him, not about me. I have been writing memoir quite a bit lately, which is ultimately about me. It’s hard to shift the focus. Second, I know there are stories he used to tell, about his growing up, his family, his various workplaces, and I used to think, I should write these down — but I never did. My memory is not that good. He remembered stories about my life that I’d forgotten. Now his memories are gone. But I'm trying not to think about what's gone, just what I do remember.
            Third, our daughter is going to speak at the memorial, so I have to make sure I don’t steal any of her material, or say anything that might embarrass her. So we’re e-mailing back and forth.
            Fourth, fact-checking. Did the friend I think recommended a job really do it, or was it someone else? (E-mai
ls.) What was the name of the editor on the start-up magazine he worked on for a week? I spend time on Google, then decide the whole story isn’t necessary.
            Fifth, his oldest friend and his younger brother cannot come to the memorial from their homes in Colorado and Kansas. So they wrote reminiscences and sent them to me. The friend needed an editorial discussion to encourage him to write more, while the brother needed a heavy editorial hand to cut down what he’d sent. (These will be read by a friend and my younger brother, respectively. So I have to send the finished products off to them as well.)
            So that’s been my day so far. Still working away.

11 comments:

  1. I love your phrase "knuckling down." Planning a memorial is hard work that is rarely discussed. How many times do we hear about the planning that goes into celebrating other life stages: birth, weddings, anniversaries. And yet we don't get to hear nearly as much about the ministrations of loved ones in planning memorials. So thank you for sharing your experiences.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love your phrase "knuckling down." Planning a memorial is hard work that is rarely discussed. How many times do we hear about the planning that goes into celebrating other life stages: birth, weddings, anniversaries. And yet we don't get to hear nearly as much about the ministrations of loved ones in planning memorials. So thank you for sharing your experiences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you. there is so much internal resistance to doing the remembering work, because I don't want to think about the reality that's leading me to this occasion. Still working through that.

      Delete
  3. When my son passed away I didn't have the courage to speak although I wish I had. But my husband and daughter talked about Trent. Shortly after his accident I read the book: Because of Winn- Dixie - I loved the part when the character's dad shared 10 things about her mother. It was a beginning for me to have the courage to write about Trent. Then I couldn't stop thinking of memories to share. I am sure you will find the words in your heart. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so sorry to hear about your son. It must be so hard to lose a child. But I can understand the difficulty you had in speaking then, and I am glad you have begun writing about him. I will look for that novel. Thank you.

      Delete
  4. Your second paragraph is so powerful. I hope that writing brings some comfort.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Writing always helps me. I just have to remember that.

      Delete
  5. I am in awe of your truth... You will give your husband a voice through your own and through your daughter...I am sorry for your loss ... He will be proud

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you. I so wish he could be here to hear what we have to say about him.

      Delete
  6. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that the preparing of your words for his memorial allows you to enter a space that honors your husband's memory and supports you in your mourning of your loss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you. I think it is helping, slowly.

      Delete