Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

I told myself, in the months and years since Mark died, that Nicholas would have some sort of memory of him. That Nicholas would have some sort of primal, basic, foundational memory of his Daddy Mark.

Nicholas was 6 weeks old when I went back to work and Mark started taking care of him full-time during the day. Nicholas was about 10 weeks old when Mark got sick and went into the hospital. Nicholas was 4 months old when Mark went into the coma that he would never come out of. Nicholas was 5 months old when Mark died.

I told myself that the time in my belly, the weeks that Nicholas and Mark had before Mark died, and all of the hours and hours of the baby and me at the hospital would make an imprint on Nicholas. It helped me feel better to think that somehow, Nicholas would still know his father in the most basic way. Now, I think I was lying to myself.

My new baby is 3 months old, and I can admit to myself that if I died today, he wouldn't remember me or know me. Hell, Nicholas is 5 years old now, and I don't know if he would have any real memories of me if I died today.

Nicholas has stories and pictures about Daddy Mark, but if I'm honest with myself, I know he doesn't have actual memories. It's up to me to keep the stories alive for Nicholas, but I am no longer telling myself that they are memories.

What do you think? Do you think there's a chance that Nicholas has some kind of primal memory of Mark? Do you think that a bond can be that strong?

6 comments:

Holly Hoffman said...

I'm not sure if I believe that there is a primal memory, but I do believe (as most people do) that love makes a dramatic impact on an infant's life from day one. The love that filled Nicholas's life from his daddy Mark will be a part of him, who he is.

When I think of my earliest memories, many of them are reinforced by photos and stories. I think they would've fallen away otherwise.

By the way, my earliest memory is from 18 mos. I hear this is impressive, but it's because it was a trauma (stitches).

Jennifer said...

Absolutely! Even children who have been adopted have some "memory" a faint calling in their hearts that tells them they are a part of someone else. That the beauty, love and integrity and whatever attributes their biological partents contributed is a part of their fiber, who they are.

Nicholas has something better than that. He had time; precious time I'm sure was spent in warm and loving ways. Talk to him about his Daddy, show him pictures, remind him of ways he's similar to him and even if those moments are far a few between they are shared nonetheless. And that is what he will remember! (:

hunibuni said...

I think that he will have a warmness in his heart but I don't think that he will remember Mark because if he did, he would also remember the loss of him. He will know what you tell him when he asks the questions. What he knows will be colored by your memories of Mark. He will equate him with the love you have for him.

Sherry said...

Holly~Thanks, I think you're right. And I am impressed with your 18 mos. memory!

Jennifer~Thanks for your thoughts. Those are exactly the ways Nicholas and I talk about his Daddy Mark. Especially with music, there are a lot of "hey, your Daddy Mark loved this song!" discussions.

hunibuni~Thanks for your thoughts. I hope I can help Nicholas know his Daddy Mark some, through my memories.

Maggie, dammit said...

I think yes, and primal is the perfect word for it. I think our DNA knows all kinds of things we don't understand. I think we love the people we love most with our very fibers. I think he remembers in a different sort of way, and always will.

Anonymous said...

JUST LAST WEEK WE WERE AT CAMP BEN OUR ANNUAL CONFEDERATE FAMILY REUNION AND OF COURSE WE ALL STARTED TALKING ABOUT MOM AND WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW SHE HAD HER STROKE THERE AT CAMP BEN. TYLER WAS STANDING UP NOW 16 AND ALMOST 6FT TALL AND SAID THE PART OF THAT STORY I REMEMBER THE MOST IS WHEN MOM (ME) TOLD NANA THAT TYLER WILL BE OK. HE CHOKED UP AND STATED CRYING. IT JUST BROKE MY HEART AND OF COURSE NEARLY EVERYONE STARTED TO CRY. IT HAS BEEN 12 YEARS AND IT STILL HAS SUCH RAW EMOTION EVEN FOR TYLER WHO WAS 4 WHEN MOM DIED. I KNOW ALOT OF IT IS THINGS WE HAVE TOLD HIM BUT IN HIS MIND HE REMEMBERS HER AND STILL FEELS HER PRESENCE AND LOVE.
BRENDA B