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Two Minute Read

A Distant Memory

“My Girls” Watercolor and Graphite by Randy Elrod Circa 2009

I’ve heard about people who can’t remember the face of their spouse who died. I get that. I have two daughters. Distant memories who randomly appear like a sailboat slipping through a dense fog. I haven’t seen them since May 2011. If you don’t have time to count that’s almost nine years. Eight years and five months to be exact. Over 3,000 days. A long time.

 
They have blocked me on social networks—so I can’t see pictures. Therefore my girls are frozen in time as I vaguely remember them. Almost ten years younger. I hear they both have children now. Three little boys. I have no memories of them because we’ve never met.
 
It’s partly my fault. I raised my girls in a religion that preaches forgiveness but practices hate. A cult that allows love for only their kind—which I am not any longer. And so I am cast out. My free-thinking is a danger to their fragile system of beliefs. I might corrupt their children. The end justifies the means. If they don’t think about me then perhaps it’s not a sin.
 
The ball is now firmly in their court. I have begged forgiveness so many times I can’t count. I have groveled. I have wept bitter tears. For almost nine years. And they have taught me a tragic truth—I can live without them.
 
I now go along happily in my new life—a free and clear person. In fact, in my wildest dreams, I never knew I could be this happy. Every day brings new joy. Until the night. When dreams come. I’ve tried everything to stop them. No eating or drinking after 5pm. No sugar, no caffeine, increased physical exercise. No sleeping on my back.
 
But inevitably the dreams come. Sometimes not for weeks, but then other times back to back. Tearful reunions, mutual apologies, proudly meeting grandchildren, catching up on life, and indescribable relief—oh, the relief. The bitter tears turn to joy. Sentimental movies that yield once again to the harrowing reality of morning. The dream was a nightmare—yet another distant memory.
 
I’ve heard about people who can’t remember the face of their spouse who died. I get that. I have two daughters.
 
Photo: I painted this watercolor—one of the few memories of them I possess—about ten years ago. I wonder if they have changed?

By randy

Encouraging people to find out who they are so they can live their lives fully.