Is it terrible to have forgotten something?

I ponder that question this morning.
In life, many things happen to us. These events shape us. They mold us and change us.
They make us the person that we are now.
Some events we will never forget.
We don’t forget the feelings of love, loss, hatred, anguish … or any other number of emotions that course through us with the memories of those times.
We don’t forget those who journeyed with us or the events surrounding what occurred.
But sometimes as we begin to live the ordinary of the every day, the little things begin to fade.We may no longer remember the smells or the words spoken by others.
We may no longer remember the minutiae of details.
We may even forget the exact date an event occurred in our lives.

Does that make us a terrible person?

I hope not.
I truly hope not.

*********************************************************************************
This post was prompted by something as silly as logging into a government website that I have not accessed for almost ten years. One of the validation questions that I set all those years ago asked me to recall the date we lost the first of our babies. And. I. could. not. remember.
I remember the month. I remember the year. I remember the feelings of loss. I still grieve.
But I don’t remember the date.

I don’t remember the date.

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50 thoughts on “Is it terrible to have forgotten something?

  1. The faces, the feelings, the essence of something is far better than a date or a color or a detail. After reading a book or watching a movie or even experiencing an event, I may forget the details, and am unable to recount the story accurately, but I always remember how it made me feel and the impressions it left. We are not bad people.

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  2. Except for silly security questions, does the exact date matter. You remember the important things. Memories of the event. The grief. The emotions. Those will always be with you. And I’m sure many other intimate details of that whole period of your life.

    I’m in the same situation with the loss of my three younger siblings to cancer. I was with each of them. But I couldn’t tell you the dates. That part of the experience I could only recover by looking it up in the family tree I have online. But the emotions, the pain, the loss, the missing, the not being able to see, talk to, email with, chat with, etc. The love is eternal and I know we’ll be together again.

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    1. Oh Dan, I am so sorry that you have lost siblings also. I have lost three myself – two to leukaemia. It really is quite difficult. Like you, I often have to look up my online family tree to remember dates though.
      Funnily enough, we tend to ring my parents on the anniversaries of those we have lost to make sure they are doing okay. This year, my mother had completely forgotten the date. I guess it is like John said above, we are moving on.

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      1. Getting old is tough, as we lose so many friends as time passes, but none of us expect to lose our children or younger siblings and friends. Our father passed of cancer at 40. I was 17, oldest of 6, youngest two twins of 7. My mother taught school and raised us. I’ve lost both brothers at 56 and 58, one sister at 52. All of cancer. I’m 71 now. Mother died at 86 of natural causes. I’m the old man. My wife’s parents are gone also (she’s same age) and her only sibling, a younger sister, also passed recently.

        We know it goes with the territory as we age, and it happens to all of us, unless we’re the ones to depart first. Doesn’t make it easy. But we have our faith and know we’ll join them in the future.

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        1. That is something to hold on to then Dan.
          It is difficult when you find a photo with yourself and others in it though and realise that you are the only person still walking this earth.

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  3. Oh Suz, you are fine – that is normal. As your other readers said, it is the memories that and emotions that are here forever – not the dates or times or particulars of the physical world.

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  4. You’re doing just the same as the rest of us do. Events and emotions can be imprinted on the memory but the dates fade easily as you can’t feel or touch the date inside.
    I can remember the deaths of my parents clearly but I can’t tell you the years those events happened now, let alone the actual date. Remembering them as people is the more important thing.
    Don’t beat yourself up for something that’s natural.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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    1. Thank you Laurie. Part of me can’t help feeling that I am a bad mother for forgetting the date but I don’t forget the feelings of loss of grief. Or the feelings of excitement at knowing we had a baby for that short time.

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      1. The mind is a great thing Suz, it shields us from hurt and despair. You’re not a bad mother, you’re a person trying to handle the grief of an event you had no control over. Those feelings of excitement can be used to heal the grief.
        Hugs
        Laurie.

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  5. Sue Im the worst historian, I don’t remember dates and get my years mixed up and don’t remember a lot of my past, its just the way it is. Some people I talk to go “remember when we did this” – ah no….. they have a clarity I wished I possessed but unfortunately I do not obviously have enough brain chips in my head to keep everything in…. I just have to let it go and know that the important things, whether I remember the dates or times or actual words spoken, are kept as a record in my heart. Great post 🙂

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    1. I will have to agree that the record in my heart is still functioning and going strong there Karen.
      I too forget many things that happen. The older kids will often say to me “Remember when…” and I have forgotten but with some prompts remember some of it. I have put a lot of my memory loss down to stress and depression. Although it is funny how I can remember conversations from 40 years ago but forget other things such as dates. The human mind is a funny old thing.

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  6. This has happened to me too, I think what troubles me when this happens is the fear that I am forgetting something that was and still is important and how could I possibly do that, as it then would seem that I have moved into a place where the event holds less importance, that time has made a space that has allowed me to forget, when I don’t want to forget. Does that make sense? It is as if I don’t want to become removed from the grief, the pain that accompanied the event, and at one time it seemed an impossibility that I would, but then the truth years later is that healing has occurred on a level that has allowed me to heal without my even realizing it. It is a disconcerting feeling.

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  7. ….Oh beautiful lady – that made take a sudden deep breathe and choke up.
    It IS ok. It is ok.The essence is not forgotten.
    Please do not despair – you have so much that fills your mind and your life – so much to remember.
    We do not HAVE to hold on to every thing…to remember…
    We hold it all in our hearts (I just want to ‘mother’ you right now and hold you!!)

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        1. You’re welcome.
          As long as it wasn’t something I said or my body odour that was keeping you away! 😛
          Although recovery is hard, think of how well your new knee is going to work when you are out photographing all sorts of things. 😉

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  8. I don’t think it is at all terrible. My younger brother was killed by a drunk driver 25 years ago. At the time I was living in Taiwan. The trip home to Wisconsin, USA was long and disorienting. The date of his death was never clear in my mind and over the years I have been grateful for that. I still feel the loss and his birthday is always emotionally complicated for me. However, I feel that remembering him on that day is a celebration of who he was rather than wallowing my sorrow for who he will never be. I am sorry for your loss.

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