“Unforgettable, that’s what you are…” the song says, although that song is about the living and you, my beloved, are dead, gone so long now (24 years) that I wonder if my memory betrays me. Not about your kindness. Not about your gifts to me as I put the lid you fixed on the cake carrier, a ‘fix’ that’s still good after all these years. Not about how you were always there for me, how you always loved me, how you put your family first.
But my memory of your face is shifting. I remember it one way, then see it in a photograph. They’re not quite the same. I fear, too, that I will never know what you would have looked like when old. I think about our son, his memories of you and me, you ever middle-aged, me old. I remember my own parents who died within a year of each other, similar in age in my memory, but you and I will be decades apart, different.
I remember your left-handedness. I remember our niece bewailing that she’d now be the only lefty in the family. I wonder if she remembers saying that. I remember you wore Rockport shoes. I tried to give a brand new pair to our nephew when you died, but he wouldn’t take them. They went to a mason who came to fix a crack in the outer bricks of the house we lived in.
The rest of you is fading. The feel of your arms around me and mine around you. I remember how thin you were, how I could put my arms around your waist and grab my elbows. But I don’t remember how it felt. I remember us lying in bed together on Saturday mornings, like the last Saturday morning of your life, but the warmth is gone.