Friday, January 9, 2015

...a memory of a memory...

Twenty-five years ago today may have been the most significant pivot point in my world. That moment just may have determined the outcome of the rest of my life.  
You see, it wasn’t even my moment. It wasn’t my choice. I had nothing to do with it and there was absolutely nothing I could have done to change it (it took a great deal of therapy to arrive at this statement). Shawn shot himself. He picked up a gun and shot himself. From what I remember, he had been putting on his shoes.

Years ago I read a study about memory. The researchers argued that humans only have the ability to actually recall about 15 years. Anything that we *remember* beyond that point is actually the memory of a retelling. I don’t remember the study; I don’t remember the researchers. Memory fades. That’s kind of the point. Some things stick with us and some things are gently lost to time. If the study is correct, I’m only remembering the memories that I have fabricated of Shawn, the retellings of my story of him.
I think I can remember the feel of his hair; if I close my eyes, I can almost hear his laugh. I certainly can still make out the features of his face. I remember how he used laughter to cover pain. I remember how he used his guitar to cover every other possible emotion. I remember specific events… like when a guy I liked was late to a football game, he walked a good half mile to a payphone to try to figure out where he was.
If the universe had given me just a few more years, I would have loved him fiercely. We would have always remained friends. Gah! I had known him since preschool. He chased me in the playground before I was even in school. He would have had his own kids. I would have seen him for the holidays and I would have always been different. I might not have learned to love deeply, to hug friends, to say “I love you” and mean it; I might have ended up wearing yellow (ha ha ha yeah, I doubt it). I’m pretty sure everything would have been different… better? *shrug* Who knows.

What happened is that time is now measured by befores and afters. But each year we wear our *Shawn socks*. His family was of a religion that didn’t celebrate holidays but we gave him presents anyway and he loved it. One year a friend gave him black socks with white polka dots. He wore those damn socks almost daily. In fact, he was buried wearing them. On this day my friends and I wear polka dot socks to commemorate the day and maybe feel a little bit closer to him.


  1. (((HUGS))) That's it. Just lots and lots of hugs.

  2. I don't think I'll ever look at polka dot socks in the same way again, but if there is some form of afterlife I suspect Shawn will be tickled black and white to know you still think of him. *hug *

  3. I lost two friends to suicide. I know those feelings. Good for you to realize that there was nothing you could of done.

  4. All I can say is that he is smiling with you and also loving his polka dot socks *Hugs*

  5. I know very well that memories last longer than 15 years, sometimes it's enough to read an old letter or to see a photo to pick the stored memories up. Lots of hugs to you.

  6. Sounds like a great friend! Those are good memories.

  7. I don't know why I never saw this blog post =\. I never saw it! I cannot bring myself to believe he did it after all of these years. Brady believed he would or could. I am 44 years old and when it comes to this one moment in my life I feel like a 2 year old. I just refuse to believe it is true.

    Im sorry I never saw this before. I love you Sharon. <3