Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Fear of Forgetting

What is my greatest fear?

Not spiders or sharks or snakes (well, ok, maybe snakes a little).

Not public speaking like most because, well, I love being listened to (especially if they have no choice in it... mwahahaha).

Not dying because I've come to realize it's not nearly as bad as it sounds.

Not even being alone for the rest of my life. I have experienced aloneness and at least it's nice and quiet.

No, my big fear is none of the things that everyone else seems to worry about.

My biggest fear is one unique to me. It is a burden I alone must carry and it is getting heavier and heavier.

My biggest fear is that Craig, my Craig, will be forgotten.

It was actually a discussion about names that brought about this revelation last night. The conversation being - what does a widow do about her last name if/when she remarries? My immediate thought was, I am Emily Garvin now and will be forever. Why on earth wouldn't I keep that name? (and for those of you women who have changed your name after getting married you know how much of a pain in the arse it can be) But the debate around this seems to come mostly from the men - they all appear downright offended at the idea of a woman not taking their name or even keeping the former husband's last name as a middle name. I was kind of surprised at this response but felt very, very strongly about wanting to keep Garvin in my name.

So being the obsessive nut that I am I reflected and over-analyzed until it hit me why this matters so much to me. Keeping Craig's name is a tangible and public way of acknowledging him for the rest of my life, for as long as I exist.

He was so young. He never saved the world or made it into the history books. In fact, his one claim to fame was the way that he died. This means the rest of the world goes on without him, as though he never was.

I am terrified that I will be the only one who remembers him, the only one fighting to remind the world that he mattered, that he was important, even if it was just to me.

I was his wife, his other half, his twin. I knew him more intimately and more honestly than anyone else in this world. If I do not keep this memory alive, who will? Every memory I have, every story we shared, every subtle nuance on his face, the most intimate hurts and joys of his heart - I carry these with me. 10 years worth. These are things I cannot simply write or explain - there are too many and no words would ever be enough.

And that means he could fade into non-existence and disappear.

And this is something I will fight with every last breath in my body.

Because he was important and he did matter.

And he will always matter.

To me.


  1. I have no doubt you will keep Craig's memory alive. I don't know you, or Craig, but came to your blog through a friend and his life (and his life with you) has already touched mine, because of you sharing it with me. I know your story will continue to touch others, to help them and hopefully you find sharing healing for you as well.

    I have actually had that question come to my mind over the years (not sure why, just have). I never questioned changing my name when I got married but I knew if something happened to my husband I wouldn't want to let that although I never considered hyphenating with my maiden name I decided if I was ever in that position that is what I would-to honor my first husband, my vows for 'forever', my love and my friend, but also to honor the person who was helping me move forward with a 'new' life.

    Obviously I have no idea if my feelings would change in the situation, but since I had actually thought of it before I thought I would share.

    Thanks again for sharing, for reminding us what is truly important, and for your honesty. I know you are helping so many.

  2. Emily, I have thought the same thing about my husband. I don't want the world to forget him, I don't want his death, no matter how tragic it was, to be forgotten. However, I think that you are doing a wonderful thing in writing your blog. This is the most personal way of honoring him and his life. So, thank you for allowing others to share in his life and keep his memory alive!

  3. Your story is moving. I relate. I actually came across this post by searching "fear of forgetting." Your blog is lovely insurance against such forgetting.