Mom brought up her husband, my dad today. She rarely talks about him these days. I asked her how often she thinks about him. Her answer — all the time.
Dad died about two and a half years ago now. For most of the first year after his death, we had to talk repeatedly about the fact that he had died. It was horribly painful conversation for both of us as I had to walk her through the whole experience to trigger the memories. And for her, it was learning anew in each conversation that he had died and having to face that pain. It was quite simply awful.
I did eventually learn which pieces of the story helped her piece together the memories. And at some point she came to know and accept that her husband of forty plus years was gone.
After that, we talked about him rarely. Sometimes we look at family photos and talk about him. But it is rarely because Mom initiates it. So it was a surprise when she brought him up herself.
These days, Mom’s grasp on reality is tenuous at best. She barely remembers things that happened moments ago, and much of the past is a blur also. Yet, she still remembers her husband and misses him — all the time. It is fascinating to realize how deeply we hold certain feelings and connections.