Time warps our perception of the world. Like old black and white photos slowly taking a sepia tint as exposure and wear leave their marks our memories shift and distort as they fade and remerge continuously from our minds.
Tonight would have been my brother’s birthday – if he’d still been alive. It’s been almost six years now and I have learned to live with not having answers. I have stopped trying to guess at or make sense of the events that led to his death – or the feelings that caused him to seek to end it at his own hand. When I think of him now it is mostly just because he is absent. Missing from the picture I still catch myself thinking he ought to be part of. It is a fleeting memory now. One I do not dwell with or try to hold onto anymore. At least not for very long. There is no sense in arguing with the past.
The present moment on the other hand has no patience for editing or proof-reading. There is no diplomacy in its ruthless honesty or raw vulnerability… and frankly, it doesn’t always leave the best impressions. So, we push it to the back of our minds for a while. Wait for the images to dull and gather a bit of dust to shroud our sensitivity. Who needs all the facts, anyway, right? Later, we bring them back out and look at them again, and if enough time has passed we may start to see something new. Something different and more pleasant – and perhaps most importantly, something less threatening.
Time gives us the ability to refocus, I think, and over time the details lost will be the ones that we don’t want or need to remember. The real question then will be whether we’ve choosen to hold onto the good or the bad, to happy memories or bitterness and regret. Time will feed or free either at our behest. Whatever the case, reality will be lost in favour of an idealised – or demonised – image of the world as we want to remember it. And tonight more than any other night, I am so deeply grateful that despite the tears and the heartache… it is his smile I see and the sound of his voice, chiming in with mine as we sing together that time has helped me to retain.
For all the anger, resentment and devastation I have felt… in my eyes, he IS perfect. Our time together was perfect, and even though it hurts to have lost it… I cherish the images left within me.
Fond memories are flawless.
I can only hope that in the minds of those I cause harm or disappointment time will be as kind to me.