Sunday, September 03, 2006

time wounds all heals.

There's always been something problematic for me in that notion of time heals all wounds. Time allows you to stop being so emotional - and that can be a godsend. But the distance created by time turns memories into nostalgia - and this can be bittersweet. Sometimes the distance created by time gives you a kind of perspective that allows you to see all the things that you missed initially in minute detail, slow motion...frame by frame. That's rarely good. And perhaps as you move further away from action and into memory you fill in the gaps with untruths that somehow become real across time. That's rarely good either. As the hard edge of emotion wears away you've got more thinking, rationalising, wondering to do. Time has given me a lot of time to think. Sometimes I feel like I'm living on 3am thoughts. Again, not so good.

I've had time do tricky things to my memories. I've had the jack in a box phenomenon - where memories resurface when you least expect them to. But perhaps that wasn't time at all - it was just me protecting myself. I don't know, there seems to be a lot I don't know. You can't blame time for everything...and you can't protect yourself forever either.

Just after my father died, before time allowed me any perspective I thought about the death all the time. I replayed those harrowing moments of finding out and of dealing with the fallout of a mother who was 'left alone' and a brother who was 'too young'. I felt a lot of guilt as well. Guilt of not being a better daughter, of things I'd said when I was mad - stupid teenage things, which of course is what I was back then. Things that I'd even thought to myself and never uttered came back to haunt me too. Rationally I realise that thoughts cannot harm a person, but I also don't fully believe that they won't either. That's one thing, time has still not allowed me grace of forgiving myself.

After a couple of years I was able to let go of the automatic rewind, replay button in my head. I categorised select moments instead - into genre even: Happy, Sad, Drama, Foreign, Black comedy, Cult classics, Documentary, Nostalgia. That was a whole lot better than automatic replay but it's not wholey self guided either. Yesterday I picked up an apple and was transported back to being 5 or 6 and watching my dad carefully slice up thin slivers of peeled granny smith apples, drop them into a glass and then pour red wine all over them. The wine soaks into the apple takes away their tartness - what you're left with is a crisp apple infused with wine. He hands me a fork and I am allowed to have one but bargain for more. It makes me feel sentimental and I immediately want to share it with him again, but can't. It's sad.

Perhaps time just gives you time to pick good and proper at your scabs. Maybe time wounds all heals. Or time wounds, all heals. But I don't know if we ever really heal back to new, do you?

So Happy fathers day, Dad. It's been a long time but I still think about you every single day.