I have a hard time with the memories of Peter. Not remembering them. I will never, nor could I ever, forget him and the memories created. No, I struggle with cherishing the memories we created together, keeping them in my heart. I don’t think I’m alone in this. There are many people who find it torturous to hold the memories of their person after he/she dies. Especially when it’s all brand new.
See, when I think of the last trip Peter and I went on, or a movie we laughed through, or a not-so-good dinner I shared with him, it hurts my heart. They were created when Peter was alive. These are reminders of the times we spoke, laughed, touched, or were at peace in our togetherness. And they’re all gone. And we will never be together again to form any more memories. And those thoughts are what devastates me, every single time.
It used to be when Facebook showed me a picture of a post about an event from a year or three back, I would sigh, and smile, and think “that was a great time”. Used to be’s are gone and now the memory posts pain me as I think, “that’s when Peter was still alive”. It’s my own fault really. I posted too many gosh darn pictures and wrote too many words about me and “My Mister” – the name I gave him and will never use again. I should have been a minimalist in my posts….not my times with Peter.
I can’t really look at pictures of Peter either. I have one small photo of Peter in my bedroom at Discovery. The picture is of Peter and me when we first dated. I framed it and gave it to Peter when he left to work in Portland for six months. On the back of it, I wrote, “Whenever you’re lonely, look at this picture and know how much I love you. Missing you, Betsy”. Kind of prophetic now, right? Yeah, that’s why I keep it in my apartment. It’s hard to look at though – our young love just emerging. It’s hard. I don’t find solace in it. Too many memories. Perhaps one day.
I know why Christmas is hard, at least for me, at least this year. Yes, there are the expectations of being joyous – Joy to the World, and all that – am I am just trying to push through life right now. Yes, there it is a time for family and friends, and my best friend is not going to celebrating with me this year and one major person is missing from my family. But mostly, for me, Christmas is all about the memories of Christmas pasts. Christmas always brought me warmth and specialness because of the glow from Christmases before, the memories of the excitement and the love. Now, those memories only bring me heartache and pain. I know so many of you are saying ‘but it’s your first one’, and you would be right. Maybe once I get through the first one, I’ll learn to live with the pain. But there will always be pain and well, that may ruin Christmas for me. Maybe not. Still, knowing this is my first one, doesn’t stop the pain.
I get when people tell me to cherish the memories. I probably said it often. And for some, there is a certain peace in remembering. I admire those people. They’re not afraid to look at the good. They may be stronger than I am to be able to see past the pain to remember when life wasn’t so painful. I want to know their secret or to capture their resolve. Perhaps, one day, I will, but for now, for today, on my own journey, it’s not happening. I know love exists in the memories of Peter, Peter and me. I know it. I feel it every time I think of our time together, his smell, his touch, and his laugh. I feel the love and that what pains me the most.
One day, I hope to look back and sigh, an acknowledgment of our strong love, and a genuine need to think about them again. I hope to see Peter’s lopsided grin, his salt and pepper hair, the lines creasing around his eyes when he smiled, and his slim body in a photograph and remember all we had together. I hope to conjure up memories of our trips, our movies, our dinners and so much more without the pain I feel now when I do. I hope I don’t avoid looking at a picture of him, of us, because I don’t want to remember our once-weres. I hope, one day, to see a memory on Facebook and think, “God, we loved each other hard and had what other people strive to have – a complete and defining love affair”.
I hope, one day, I can cherish each and every memory of him, of us. But today is not the day. So, for now, I just keep on keeping on till I get to that day. I’ll keep moving in the pain until my memories comfort me… until I can cherish them.