I had an unsettling experience this morning. March 7th is a date with deep significance for me. On that date twelve years ago my life was turned upside down and forever altered when my wife died. Ever since then I have marked the day by consciously and intentionally remembering and reflecting. Some years I’ve spent the day with family and friends. Other years I’ve been alone. Early on the whole day was given over to reflection, while more recently it has been important but less all-encompassing. I usually do at least a bit of writing. And I always reach out to my daughters to let them know I’m thinking about them. Then this morning I realized that yesterday (March 7th) came and went without me remembering. I did think about it a few days ago, but when the day itself arrived it was nowhere to be found in my conscious awareness. Which, as I said, has left me feeling unsettled and a bit sad. A part of my brain is trying to convince me that my forgetfulness means I don’t care about her anymore and her memory is no longer important. The healthier, kinder, gentler parts of my brain remind me that such thinking is, to put it bluntly, nothing more than delusional bullshit. But there it is anyway, niggling at the edges of my awareness. Closer to the truth is that I am human (oh so very human) and sometimes (often) I forget stuff (including important stuff). And even closer to the truth is that the ongoing process of grief is an ever unfolding and ever evolving experience. Veronica’s impact in my life is indelibly etched into the very fabric of my being. I can’t forget her any more than I can forget my breathing. But, just as with my breathing, I am not always going to be actively aware of her presence. She is simply there, having been integrated and infused into the whole of who I am. Sometimes she rises to the surface. Mostly not. But remembering or forgetting in any give moment, or any given day, has no bearing on the larger truth that she will always and forever be a vitally important part of me. And for that most amazing gift I am grateful beyond words.