Grief is a Hard Drive Crash.

4 03 2010

I’ll need to explain that statement a bit.

I’ve been trying to pin down grief and what it feels like. I’ve felt a lot of it, having lost both my parents, and two beautiful dogs and a cat to cancer, escaped the bastard myself, for now at least… and am wondering if I might lose my Sister to cancer too.

Most people would say that grief is the feeling of loss, of missing a loved one, or a friend… but I noticed something which took a while to figure out, That grief is not just a sense of loss, but also a huge loss of personal, family “data”.

We think of our brains as singular computers where we store all the information about our lives, we remember our childhood, our teenage years, friends, parties, family, our animal companions, places we’ve been… but we don’t remember quite as much as we think we might.

Have you been in that situation where your Mother asks you if you remember that boy from grade five who you used to hang around with at school, and although you’d like to remember, for some reason, you don’t.

My Dad was better at remembering places than I was, Oh I’m good with remembering what the place looked like, most of the time, but I don’t usually remember the name. He’d say for example “Remember when we went past Wonthaggi and that thing happened” and I’d draw a blank.

It dawned on me that we share our memories with others, they’re not all stored in our own heads… well, they might be, but it takes someone to trigger it before the vision would come back, things I hadn’t thought of in years can come rushing back with just the right set of words.

Then people die, and all that information, all the reminders, all the bits of your own life as viewed by others are swept away for good.

Your dog shares certain memories with you too, which is shared via a reaction to seeing or hearing something, which again triggers thoughts in your head about why the dog reacted that way, the information is shared from dog to human.

Getting a new dog, although a nice thing to do, will not, ever, recover that lost data which died with your best friend.

Does this make sense?




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