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Why Can't I Remember?

A girl alone by the ocean. Amnesia, and Surviving Loss

It's crazy how certain events stick in your mind so clearly, while others vanish as if they never happened. I remember everything about my dad being sick so clearly. I remember coming home and seeing my parents sitting on the couch, asking me to come in and talk.

I had just gotten home from a friend’s house; I thought I was in trouble for getting home too late. I plopped down on the chair, waiting for them to ask me where I'd been. But I looked at my parent’s eyes and noticed something wasn't right. My dad had a blank stare on his face, but his eyes were huge. “Daddy’s cancer spread to his brain, and there's not much we can do,” said my mom. I just sat there, confused. I looked at my dad and asked one question: “Are you going to be okay?” His eyes got bigger, and that's when I saw my dad cry for the first time in my life. He answered, “I don’t know," and my heart burst.

I remember that day so clearly. His funeral, on the other hand, I don't remember whatsoever. I couldn’t tell you who came, what happened afterwards, who spoke at the service, what my family was wearing, who hugged me or spoke to me, nothing. Why is that? Why couldn't I remember?

Our brain has a special way at dealing with trauma. A man who recently got married forgot everything three days after the wedding. He could not remember a single thing about the service! No one knew why this was happening to him. He was healthy, positive and an overall good guy. But let's back up to a couple of days before his wedding, when this man’s best friend died in a car accident on his honeymoon. It turned out that the tragic loss of his best friend had caused this man to exhibit dissociative amnesia. This isn't rare, but there is no scientific fact explaining why it happens. Doctors came to the conclusion that this man's guilt over his best friend’s death was ultimately the reason.

After reading and researching different amnesias, I discovered that I developed acute dissociative amnesia. I do not remember one thing about my dad’s funeral or the aftermath. My brain blocked it out of my memory to protect me. They say that one day it may all come flooding back to you like a wave of information; or, I could just never remember. For now, I’ve accepted that not knowing what that day was like is best. I’m

perfectly okay with it.

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