Related to yesterday’s post.
Trauma brings about its own memories. And they stay with us a loooooooooong time. I think that’s because when something happens, our senses are heightened. I read something once that was talking a bout this very thing from a biological standpoint. It was fascinating! I can’t remember where I saw it now, so I can’t link to it or even speak intelligently. But it has to do with the “fight or flight” response in a human’s mind, hormones, and emotions.
That’s why, years later, audio and scent cues can bring up the traumatic times again. You smell the perfume you wore at your prom, or hear a bit of the theme song, and it takes you right back to the emotions of the night.
There’s muscle memory too. The reason you remember how to ride a bike after years of not is because your muscles remember what they’re supposed to do. That’s also the reason that *ahem* a mama’s belly pooches out so much quickly in a third (fourth, fifth, sixth, . . .) pregnancy. Those muscles remember!
They told me when my baby was in the NICU that she would have no memory of that time. Well, The Bull and I only partly believe that. No, she probably doesn’t remember specific events. But we’re convinced that she DOES remember, something at least. Maybe she remembers feeling crappy or has a vague memory of the scent of a cleaning solution or the taste of a medicine, or something that she couldn’t put into words. Emotions?
She still sleeps with us (the latest of all of our calves to do so) and when she wakes alone she gets really upset. She clings to me in a way that the other children didn’t at this age. I think it’s more than an emotional bonding. I think it’s because of her days of alone in the hospital.
(And for my part, I’m usually more than happy to be clung to. That’s because of the horrible days that I had to leave her in the hospital.)
Anyway during a seriously emotionally charged event–childbirth, car accident, ambulance ride to the hospital–you are more likely to remember EVERY DETAIL much more strongly. For a long time after my first husband’s death, it was like the events of part of that time would replay in my mind like a movie.
So every year, there’s a little bit of remembering that doesn’t go away. It was a seriously emotionally charged event.
Why do I need to share this kinda stuff? Why can’t I just do like everybody else and ignore it, or journal it, or pretend that the hard times never happened? What do other people do, anyway? What do you do to grieve, when the grief was years (or decades) ago?
Kinda makes me want to shut off my emotions so that there’s less hurt to go through to have to try to deal with. Sharing this stuff is too hard and people are dealing with their own stuff, they don’t want to be bothered with other peoples’ stuff.
(ETA: After figuring out what I wanted to say in this post and before posting, I found out a dear friend lost her baby in a very dramatic way March 13. My heart is aching all over again, knowing at least a little bit of the pain this family will be dealing with.)