Thursday, 26 February 2009

Flashbacks, Both Dreadful, And Wonderful

I think it is probably fair to estimate that I will be haunted by the grim realities of my wife’s death for the remainder of my days.

The impact of her actual passing is much more telling and important, and I prefer to look at the physical events as they happened to be mere details, not really worth more than a footnote in my beautiful lady’s life.

While I like to think that way, it often takes me a moment to get to that point, if those horrific scenes from my past, flash their way into my present.

It has become far less frequent than a daily occurrence, but for whatever reason, I do seem to have spells when it is brought into my conscious perhaps a bit more regularly than that.

I do not often talk about, or describe the physical events, the who-did-what, and the last few minutes of my wife’s being. And I am not about to start now, well, not this sentence anyway.

But, in short, it was not pleasant, and a trauma in itself, not only because of the horrific outcome.

I wish I could understand what triggers these memories, as I could then control or eradicate them from my life.

With a limited capacity upstairs, I need all the space possible for the good stuff, so cluttering it with terrible matter, is something I could do without.

Particularly as I have a little treasure, that gives me so much new stuff to store up, and even acts as a little trigger to wonderful memories past, that I do so desperately want to remember.

It is so warming, and heartening, to be reminded of little gems of my past, by the fruits of the beautiful relationship I had with my wife, especially as they usually bear association to it.

I have a lovely memory of the first night Samantha and I spent in the first, and what turned out to be our last, house we bought together.

We purchased a property that, while it did not NEED a lot of work doing to it, we were planning on doing a lot, and set about ripping out stuff we disliked from the very moment we got the keys.

It meant the house was a complete mess at the beginning, and the plan was not to stay there, especially for the first few nights.

But we were so excited to be there, and armed with a fresh nothing-can-stop-us attitude we ended up staying, living amongst the mess on the very first day we could.

We were also keen on getting into good habits, as we were both of the nature to become dangerously lackadaisical without any encouragement.

One of those habits was setting the house alarm, yeah, like we could have worked out if we had been burgled amongst all the self generated mess.

But still, early protocol and all that.

We trotted off to bed, and eventually to sleep.

Sam, got up before me, and tried to sneak downstairs, to make us a cup of tea, a small yet massive gesture.

Her creeping was not brilliant, as I had heard her get up, especially when she set, said alarm, off.

I quickly got up and made my way to help try to reverse the early morning work we were doing of letting the neighbours know we had moved in.

The lady of the house was stood at the alarm key pad frantically hitting numbers into it, but as it was quite a primitive system, if it did not like your first attempt, you had to hit another sequence of buttons to have another go.

Something we had not picked up by only reading the how-to-set-sticker, rather than the instructions the previous owners had thoughtfully left on top of the control pad.

Anyway, I worked it out pretty sharpish, and all the time I was hugging my then girlfriend with my free arm.

She got a bit upset, and was having a bit of a feeling vulnerable-and-useless moment. But as well as reassuring her, I fixed it, just like the man of the house is supposed to do.

It was actually a very lovely moment for us both, realising that we were really in it together and that we were so well matched.

OK, we got all that from setting an alarm off? Might seem ridiculous, but it was a sort of a symbolic start.

And the first night that Max and I stayed here, when it was far from finished, a mess akin to that at our first house, guess who wandered down the stairs in the morning setting the alarm off?

Yes. My boy did.

And this time it was the bigger man of the house to the rescue.

He too was a little startled, and soon under that arm un-required for household alarm defusal.

A nice moment for us both, a very poignant, and happy reminder of another beautiful one from my past.

So the moral of the story, apart from expect an early morning call the day after we move in next to you?

The past can be so wonderfully embraced by the present, but I am not living it. Share/Save/Bookmark


MzMoore said...

I don't really have anything meaningful to say, except that what you wrote touched me. Thank you.

The Dotterel said...

Life sometimes seems to have a certain symmetry, doesn't it?

Tawny said...

You write so beautifully about your time with your wife, this will be a huge treasure for Max when he grows up.

Robert said...

My tiny foster child died 19 years ago and all it took for me to relive the time of his death was a news item about the death of David Cameron's son. Tears welled up, as usual; then I did what you have just done - 1.) thought about the good times - 2.) blogged about it.

Other triggers release flashbacks of other deceased relatives. some are predictable (Christmas, birthdays etc.), others seem random. All of them causing an emotional response, which proves that I'm still alive and caring.

rosiescribble said...

Single Parent Dad, I've read this post twice and found it incredibly moving and extremely touching. I decided not to leave a comment because nothing I could say would be meaningful. But then I came back, just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you, just like everyone reading your blog will be. Feeling slightly lost for words...

Celtic Dragon said...

Very well done...The fact you can recall the trauma so clearly is not a bad thing as the pain will someday go away because you can.

The good thing here is this is not stuck in your reactive mind creating aberrations. To fully understand how our mind works I recomend you read "Dianetics" This has really helped me in more ways then you could imagine.

It is also great you have the good memories and cherish them so as these are great memories to pass to your son.

SciFi Dad said...

A request: maybe when mentioning Samantha you could link to an existing post about her, how she died, etc? (Assuming, of course, you have tackled that subject.) I think it would be helpful to provide a frame of reference.

As to your alarm story: when my wife and I moved into our home, the previous owners refused to give us the alarm code, arguing that we could call a company to reset it. The only problem was that the reset function was only available if we wanted to pay unreasonable monitoring fees.

So, one day shortly after we'd taken possession, I'm in front of the keypad trying to guess the code and wouldn't you know it, I inadvertently set the alarm. So, now I'm at the front door and my wife is in the kitchen. For the record, we are separated by a motion sensor that neither of us is in the field of view.

I called out to her to stay put, cursed mightily, and began counting the sweeps of the motion sensor. It took me five minutes to walk the 10 feet to our basement stairs and out of the sensor's field. Then I removed the power to the security system and called our agent telling him to call the sellers and tell them we were getting ready to take them to court for that fucking code.

Dave said...

That is a very moving memory, and as many who have commented so far have said: It's hard to know what to say - especially as a comfort to you.
I am a big believer in the spirit world and I truly believe your loved ones never leave you. When you have a strong, emotional memory such as this, it's often the way a loved one uses to communicate with you and remind you of the good things you shared.

Not a soccer mom said...

What a sweet thing. A true step into the past.
Maybe, Just maybe, It was not just your son... maybe he had some help.
I got goosebumps.

Single Parent Dad said...

MzMoore - No problem.

The Dotterel - Indeed.

Tawny - Thank you, and I hope so.

Robert - That must have been awful, and I am not surprise that the Camerons' awful news brought it back.

Rosie Scribble - Thank you. Your comment, whatever it happens to be, is welcome.

Celtic Dragon - Dianetics you say, but wouldn't I have to be 'cleverer' to understand it?

SciFi Dad - I haven't really blogged, or written specifically about Samantha's death in great length. I have a couple of pieces here and here I could consider linking to. And, anyway, have you switched your alarm off yet?

Dave - I don't know about that. Her spirit is definitely around, and I enjoy moments like this.

Not a soccer mom - Maybe.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

That's quite excellently written.

Karen said...

That was beautiful.

Penelope said...

A beautiful story and touching reminder that sometimes life really does turn in a full circle.

MindyMom said...

What a very touching post. I too think there was a little of your wife's spirit at play with your son setting off the alarm.

The Dental Maven said...

I'm always amazed at the seemingly insignificant moments in life which, over time, become powerful memories carrying huge emotional significance.

Mama Nabi said...


Leah said...

Oh crap, you've got me blubbing like a baby....
You are so lovely. I just 'feel' the love in your writing.
I have flashbacks to my sons death/life and it's a hard thing - sometimes it's a sweet reminder, others it's a thing nightmares are made of... *bless*

Split Second Single Father said...

A similar thing happened right after we moved into our first/last house. We were laying in the living room in the pitch dark when we saw flashlight beams in our backyard. My adrenaline pumping, I jumped up to check, convinced we were being robbed by the least clever burglars in history. Turns out it was the local sheriff's office. Apparently my wife had hit the panic code instead of the overnight code when she set the alarm.

Today marks two years since her death and I, too, live daily balancing the past with the present/future.

A touching, if not all-too-familiar post. Thanks for sharing.

Single Mom Seeking said...

Wow, I'm also touched deeply by your words here. Thank you.

Liz@Violet Posy said...

Hugs. No wise words, I can hear how much you miss her.

A Modern Mother said...

A very nice post, Single Parent Dad. Some memories are wonderful and you can't take them away.

Single Parent Dad said...

Xbox - Thank you, I had to come up trumps one day.

Karen - Thanks

Penelope - Indeed it does.

MindyMom - Maybe, just maybe.

The Dental Maven - It has struck me too.

Mama Nabi - *curls up to receive*

Leah - Sorry. Thank you for your kind words. And your reminders must be very tough.

Split Second Single Father - And thank you for sharing.

Single Mom Seeking - And thank you for your time and kind comment.

Liz - Gratefully received.

A Modern Mother - I certainly hope not.

Lola said...

Coming up with something meaningful to write is difficult, since this is my first time stopping in.

It's a beautiful post is all I can say.

Yaya said...

What beautiful writing you have. It captivates.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

What a touching post. Don't lose those memories, especially because they will be wonderful to share with your little boy when he is old enough to truly appreciate them!

Thanks for sharing :)

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Not at all, you always do. This was just exceptionally well crafted.

Tony said...

my wife's brother died in a car accident a few years ago. he was a great uncle to my two boys and a great joker.

we went with family and friends to get his things from his apartment on the third floor.

while disconnecting the washing machine we broke the water line and flooded three apartments.

after the fuss was over we all felt like he was watching and laughing his ass off.

like i said he was a great joker!

Single Parent Dad said...

Lola - Thanks for stopping by and leaving your lovely comment.

Yaya - Thank you, does it?

Petra - I shall be clinging to them desperately, and I'm sure I can archive them here!

Xbox - You're too kind.

Tony - Tragically funny.

Captain Dumbass said...

Wish I had something poignant to leave, but I don't. Nice post, though.

Have you ever though of permanently recording some of your posts? Like making a book out of some for Max when he gets older?

Angela said...

This moved me to tears. Your writing is so powerful.

I just stumbled onto your blog after searching for single dad blogs (as I was sitting home feeling very lonely). Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Kat said...

I know I am late commenting, but I just wanted to say what a well written post this was. So very sweet.

Momo Fali said...

I hope you can find a way to put the painful memories behind you and can only remember the good times. I know that's easier said than done, but it is still my wish for you.

Kate said...

"I wish I could understand what triggers these memories, as I could then control or eradicate them from my life."

I have at times wished this for myself as well. But someone always reminds me that it is because I loved so much that I even HAVE those memories that slay me without notice. I wouldn't give that up for the pain it causes me now.

Single Parent Dad said...

Captain Dumbass - I have, stories about us, about his mom. I need to crack on with it.

Angela - No problems, and thanks for your comment.

Kat - Your comments, whenever they come, are always very welcome.

Momo Fali - I do too. But perhaps the bad ones make the good ones even better.

Kate - Too true.

Jo Beaufoix said...

I can't imagine the things that must be in your head. I'm glad you have the good stuff in there too, and a little man to cuddle when the bad gets too much. xoxoxoxo

The Grown Up Teenager said...

I think its beautiful to remember a person by the life they lived, rather than the death they died, and you're doing more than you can imagine for your child by helping remember his mom in a loving way instead of sad.

Remembering what made the person special means so much more, and you write it beautifully, and can touch my heart.

Post a Comment