I have a God-awful memory. My friend Kate says it’s because, as a writer, I have too many details of imaginary people swimming around in my brain and it pushes out the unnecessary information like, say, what I ate for dinner yesterday or where I put my wallet. I believe her because she’s studying to be a doctor and, because she’s studying to be a doctor, her memory has gotten terrible too. The pair of us will probably end up wandering around in our robes in the middle of the night when we’re 40. Good times.
There’s one thing that sticks with me though. Occasionally, I’ll be sitting somewhere and I’ll blink and I’ll feel this bundle in my arms. I look down and I’m not where I sit at all. I’m not on the bus or at the movies or in my desk chair. I’m sitting on the old futon in my sister’s basement. It’s dark and my two-month-old niece is in my arms. She’s a bundle of soft and her little body is pressed against my stomach. She’s wearing a little onesie, I don’t remember what it looks like or what color it is. It doesn’t matter that I can’t remember that part because I can feel her there. That’s all that matters. I hold on to that memory tighter than you could ever know.
I don’t need a day to remember her. (Lord, I could use a day to remember everything else though) Still, it’s nice to know that there is one. It’s nice to know that, today, we’re not alone.
In an odd turn of events, earlier this year, Kate’s mother asked me to help her with a project. She’s a grief counselor who deals specifically in the loss of infants and children and she’d written a book, a folk tale about such a loss and how to incorporate the memory of your loved one into your life. She asked me for help in editing and publishing the book so she could pass it on to parents going through a loss similar to what my sister and brother-in-law experienced, what we all experienced.