Same job, different uniform.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

In Case I Forget You, I Love You

The other night my sister-in-law brought up a story of a couple her friend Andrea knows who were given the ultimate test: the wife was in a car accident that robbed her of her memory of her husband. Faculties were still intact but she could not remember him.

Her husband didn't leave her but stayed to woo her all over again. She fell in love with him for the second time and they got "married."

This story moves me deeply. Not only does it speak to the power of prevailing love in a human being, as well as impress on me the strength of affection and attraction between a man and woman, it raises questions about the nature and value of our memory.

What if one of us forgot the other? Would the past still matter? Is there an insurance policy for the millions of deposits we make into the accounts of other's lives?

I want to look my loved ones in the eye, shake them and yell: I'll never forget! It's not possible! You mean too much to me!

But it is possible. My sister's story is true. And worst case scenario aside, our experience confirms that the effects of aging, disease, or just plain passing time lend themselves to forgetfulness.

Can you pinpoint a special moment you shared with someone you were certain would have a permenant place in your life--someone you would be hard-pressed to call a friend today?

I have endeavored to lock certain moments in my mind by casting a sweeping glance over a particularly breathtaking sunset or by fixing my gaze on someone's face swearing to remember every nuance. To no avail.

Occasionally panic grips me, like it did when I was a little girl and my parents would leave the house for a trip as quick as one to the grocery store and I would run out to give them another hug, and I'm afraid I'm never going to see someone I love again. What if they died without my having told them lately that I love them? Or worse still, never knowing for sure. What if the last thing that happened between us was a quarrel? It would be a hard thing to get over, and unimaginable if I remembered it and you forgot...because you forgot everything...and I never had the comfort of your forgiveness.

So what of it? Live a life in fear that our loved one's memories will evaporate? I don't think so.


If I haven't told you in a while, or if you were beginning to doubt it: I love you.

It may happen that I forget that I love you. Or you forget me. Sacrifies made, hard-won victories, crooked smiles, your infectious laugh, my red-hot anger, may slip into the nether regions of a clouded mind. If this happens, I hope you will remember this moment when I tell you that who you are and what our interaction was is meaningful even if I cannot recall it.

Don't I know you? No? Well this post isn't for you, is it? But I'm sure someone somewhere means to tell you.


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