The brain is an amazing organ, truly.
We store everything in there, everything from our past. Memories, things we’ve learned, feelings, experiences. It’s all in there, and accessible. Though we forget how to access most of that info, some of it stays right there in the forefront of our minds for when we need it.
I’ll never forget the first of many memory movie reel playbacks I experienced after the death of my husband.
My Besty had taken it upon herself to get tickets to a comedy show. She knows me well, my all time favourite thing in life is to lift my spirits by laughing. That’s pure joy for me.
I wasn’t far into my widow journey, I’m going to say about 2 months, though I feel it may have been earlier. I wasn’t in any state to do anything really, I was barely functioning at all to be frank. Though I went along, because I knew that 1) I needed to get out of that house and 2) Laughing would be good for me.
The show was… Not exactly wet-your-pants funny but I had a few decent chuckles. It may have been funnier had I been in a better headspace, who knows. Being out of the house felt good though. Being around people felt good. I knew I was taking a tiny step on my road to being ok. Out in public. Woo!
After the show we went for a wander up the main drag of Newtown, looking for a pub to sit and chat about what we’d just seen and to sink a few bevvies. Out of nowhere, my mind starts playing me a simple memory, like I’m watching a movie or a short show. Vivid and real, like it was happening in that moment.
We were laying in bed, husband and I. It was a weekday, we’d both been at work all day. We were tired and just watching some tv before sleep. He changed the program to The Melbourne Comedy Festival.
As I lay there next to him, holding his hand and laughing loudly, I could feel him watching me.
M: Why are you watching me and not the tv?
DH: You just love to laugh, don’t you?
M: I do, it’s my very favourite thing to do.
DH: I know it is. I love watching you laugh. That’s one of MY favourite things to do.
M: Watch this guy baby, he’s really funny.
DH: I’d much rather watch you.
There I was standing on the main st of Newtown that was bustling with people and life and I was crying. Again.
My mind had just played me a snippet of a time gone by. Perfectly. As if it was happening right then and there.
He was happy when I was happy. Genuinely happy. What a beautiful thing that is. I was talking to my mum not long after this and she said to me, “How lucky you were to have someone who got a kick out of seeing pure joy in your life. Not many people have that, you know?” …And she was right.
In a time when our lives are so choc-a-block full of stuff, we often forget that other people’s joy and happiness is important too because we’re so busy that we forget our own most of the time. Yet, I had that, we had that. I too got great joy out of watching him in his element but his joy for me was better, on reflection.
I’ve had quite a few life playbacks since then but that one, the first one, that was the most memorable. I often wonder if my brain will do that always. I hadn’t experienced it to that extent before. I hope it does, how nice it would be to relive things we would have otherwise forgotten.