by Lori Dwyer on August 8, 2011 · 15 comments

My memory is shot.

The weeks before Tony died- and the weeks after- eight solid weeks, on each side,a liquid of colour and venue and sensation and phrase and song.

My son’s third birthday.. I don’t remember it at all.

Our last Christmas together, as a family… I remember bits, but it blurs with the other three Christmases we spent together… four, in all. The first, just the two of us, in Cowra, me working Christmas Day at the hospital. The second, three of us, me laced with post natal depression, so tired I sobbed when our baby woke at 6am. The third, our daughter was conceived. And the fourth was our last.

December, January…. I barely remember them at all. Only New Years Eve I remember in depth and detail… it was so much fun. And I remember sitting across from him, and one of our friends commented on how completely perfect we were together, how well we fit.

Ironically, the longer I’m here, in Paradise, and the more my Purple Life fades into such a non existence that I made have just dreamed it, if you don’t consider the exception of the Purple children that came from within; the more I remember, and the more vivid those memories are, of being young.

Of who I used to be.

Of who I started off being.

It’s returning to a child like state, I suppose… a more innocent, connected time of being.

Or maybe it’s the trauma.

I blame the trauma, for all those missing memories. Memory, I think, it’s like jelly… it’s created, then it sets.

All that trauma… my brain was far too hot, for memory to do any setting, and solidifying.

It was far too busy being surviving, primarily, on instinct, coiled in fright.

I’m sure those memories are still there… the brain is a limitless source of RAM, is it not? They are there, just not solidified… still in the working recesses, the basement of my cortex.

I’m almost sure of it.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Ling August 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

Just discovered your blog today and I've had a quick read through and it's moved me to tears. You're a really strong and courageous woman and I admire you for it!


In Real Life August 9, 2011 at 4:26 am

*HUGS* I believe that your memories will return when you are ready for them. I try to remember things about my mom, but my brain gets in the way, shouting, "NO, NO, NO!"…but slowly over time, I am able to think about some things, enjoy a few happy memories… carefully, always ready to retreat into the safety of the present. (She died in 1995, when I was 19, home from college for summer break, it was a shock for me, even though it was cancer…lots of unresolved mother-daughter arguments/fights)


Shellye August 9, 2011 at 3:22 am

Memory is such a strange thing, especially mine. I remember every single little thing…except for the car accident I had on March 27th of 2001, on a Tuesday. I remember driving, and the light was green, and the windshield cracking in super slow motion. What I don't remember is busting out of the car and making phone calls to the emergency services. The only thing I remember was walking out of the gas station and seeing the fire trucks and the ambulances, and my friend being put on a stretcher. (She was six months pregnant.) I had to rely on the testimony of others to fill in the gaps.

My last visit with my dad before he died. I used to remember the sounds and smells of the hospital, every single second, but now some of that day is fading. I think it's a defense mechanism to protect my heart. (It's a long story, and I'll share it sometime if you want.)

The brain sometimes pulls up the unimportant or even the uninvited memories. I remember every dream I've ever had, what everyone wore and where they wore it, characters on televisions shows, things like that.

I do have some theories on why your memories are not clear right now.

1. Your brain is trying to protect your heart (emotions, feelings).

2. Not enough time has really passed for your brain to process everything.

3. Your brain is on auto pilot, filled with routine information pertaining to survival.

4. All of the above, perhaps.

Just give it some time. Time really does heal all wounds.

I am praying for you, Lori.


cecampbell August 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I wish i could bring them back to you, love, clearly labeled so that then they can be handed over in the right right way when you are ready for them. Oh so many things your friends wish we could do for you….just please know that we are here, wanting to, and i hope that helps even a small measure. Xoxox


Holly August 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Lori, I lost memories of my father after watching him die in front of me for over a year….I couldn't remember (I was 15) his voice, his face, anything we had done together…just little snap-shots. All I could remember in vivid detail was every moment of him collapsing and dying…and the hospital….and nothing for about 24 hours after that. And then…again, just vague snippits of images for a long time.

Eventually, it was a smell that started to bring things back. It's not gone forever….which is good and bad.

I used to think it was incredibly cruel to lose someone, then lose everything about them in your mind on top of it. But it's not cruel. It's how you survive and keep breathing.

Hang in bunny….


Veronica August 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm

It's funny, I just finished writing about memory as well, after smelling soap that took me straight back to the delivery room with Amy. Things I thought I'd forgotten, often come back with a smell of something, or a piece of music.

I think we all try and forget the traumatic things. Our brains want to protect us, even when we'd prefer to remember.



Melissa August 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I agree with Kellogsville that sometimes you need another brain to help remember things – or just something that triggers your recall – one moment you don't remember then suddenly, you do. I think everything's there – it's just a matter of finding the right way to access it.
And try to remember you're still creating a lifetime of good memories for Bump and Chop right there in Paradise.


Kelloggsville August 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I was desperately trying to recall my daughters first birthday party the other day and failing. We had to have a number of discussions before fitting the pieces of memories together, some of the failed memories may be because you don't have Tony there to help you bounce the memories around into a solid thing that rebuild the moments for you.


Annieb25 August 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

What Holly said. She is very wise. The harder you think, the harder the memories will be to access. They will come honey. xx


Crystal Cheverie August 9, 2011 at 5:40 am

I'm sorry to hear your memories have been taken from you by this trauma, but I have to go with the others – I think that they will eventually come back to you. Something will act as a trigger (in the non-negative sense); a smell, a sight, a sound, and it'll be like a tractor clearing away the snow that's piled up, clearing a path back to that memory.



Donna August 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Maybe the memories are waiting to return when they know you are ready to relive them. They cant ever leave you for good, I'm sure xx


River August 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

The memories are there Lori, and they'll surface when you're ready for them.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos August 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

They may not be there and that is all right too. Our brain protects us from some memories for the sake of the greater entity-you. Your long-term survival matters more than remembering those days.


A Daft Scots Lass August 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

they are there and you'll access it all when you need. when you are ready.


Good Golly Miss Holly! August 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm

They are there sweetie, and they will come to you. Perhaps your subconscious is keeping them tucked away, safe until you are ready to revisit them once more x


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