Monday, December 3, 2012


Every harsh word spoken, every promise ever broken to me, total recall of data in the memory...

The great Bob Bennett penned that lyric some years back in his song "Lord of the Past". It resonated with me like few things ever had. Throughout most of my life, I've been bless/cursed with a very acute, detailed recall of events, conversations, experiences, etc. This "total recall" seemed to define me well into my 30's. My expectations of life, people, and relationships were beholden to the graphic details of my early life.

Enter Nathan. After Nathan's diagnosis, I can't seem to recall being as controlled by these expectations. The harsh reality that set in when his neurologist said the word "autism" changed everything.

Fastforwarding a few short years and I witness myself in third person. Nathan has the same recall. Partnered with difficulties processing chronology, his memories were both vivid and current when recalled. His memories had an even stronger hold on his present than mine did. His anger and hurt were palpable with each returning experience.

Fortunately, his dad had already walked this path. Over a period of years, we discussed what would return to haunt him. We would discuss the differences between then and now. Over time, he learned to internalize that it was in the past, and therefore no longer important. Together we integrated temporal understanding into the mix of hurt and anger, and those became incrementally diminished when viewed through the lense of time.

As Nathan has grown into his late teens, the things of the past have assumed a much more appropriate place in his mind. Gone are the hot, immediate anger and hurt that returned with difficult memories. Somewhere in there, I gained an appreciation for the path that I've walked. This newfound view absolves nothing, but grants me an appreciation for the path that I have walked. My own pain has benefitted my sons. I can now view it not as simple pain suffered, but as a price that I've paid on their behalf.

Time itself has become a friend to me in this instance. As 40 shrinks smaller rearward on my journey, the path behind has developed a certain haze. Time has eroded the jagged edges I once bled on. In their place, the softer, warmer views of those who loved and invested in me have become the dominant focal points. What was once a sharp, precise, architectural rendering has morphed into a far more impressionistic view. Who know forgetting could be so beautiful?

No comments:

Post a Comment