I’m rubbish at remembering things. I forget simple things, when to take something out of the oven, where I put my keys/earphones/phone/shoes/lunchbox, what time I’m supposed to meet someone, what train I’m supposed to catch, the name of the new person in accounts that I’ve been introduced to three times.
I’m your basic nightmare for things like that. My mind just doesn’t work to help me remember that stuff. What I am good at remembering is odd information, cocktail recipes and birthdays and anniversaries, even if I don’t get around to doing anything about them, I do remember them.
Sometimes that ability can feel melodramatic and/or very sad, should you celebrate the birthday of the people that you loved who are dead and how do you do that?
Today would have been Kier and Stef’s birthday and it’s been a long time since this day was a day involving cake, candles and cards but we will remember. I’ll spend some time with Michael and we’ll talk about his boys and how we miss them.
I do miss them, we all miss them. We miss them because we don’t just miss the things they did or the things we did with them, as time moves on, we miss the things they didn’t see or do. I miss them most when the twins do something they haven’t done before, when I hear a new song and can’t share it, I’ll miss them today when we all sit down to dinner and talk and eat and feel like family because they would have loved that and we are still family because of them.
It gets easier each year to move through this day, which is as it should be although that has it’s own sadness too, I remember Stef saying that the worse thing about grief was knowing that you’d feel better eventually. It’s true, we’re getting to nearly a decade now and it’s not such a sharp pain now and I know that they would be glad of that. When I tell people about them, sometimes people tell me that it’s tragic, because the two of them died of the same disease and were be so young. I used to agree, it was tragic, it felt tragic.
Keir and then Stef chose not to have a headstone or plaque, we scattered their ashes and use the headstone in Brompton Cemetery and the grave above as the place we go if we want to ‘talk’ to them. We used to talk about ‘Annie’, who she might have been, why in this cemetery which is full of poems about angels and grief, all this one had was a date and an age. I always thought she was someone’s mistress but maybe the truth is that you can’t tell anything important from a gravestone, age, date, marital status don’t tell you who they really were or what impact they had on the people they knew.
You can’t determine whether they were loved, how they lived, what really mattered to them, who they changed from a headstone. Today though, if you see us, sitting at the table, talking and laughing and missing them, you’d know and although it was an awful thing to lose them and we’re not the same as we were, we were lucky to know them and to have them change and shape our lives.