On Love and the Intelligence of Flashbacks

Out of nowhere, it comes. An intake of fresh air or the sight of a particular plant and lately I flashback to the person I was when I was expecting to be pregnant. It is nothing if not sublime, a barely noticeable dull image coupled with an ache that distorts my present focus, persisting in its asking softly “do you remember?”, until I stop and say inwardly “what’s that?”

I find myself recalling, viscerally, a time when I thought I had something else ahead of me.

As these flashbacks meander into my cognition, I realize much of the past five years of my life is a fog. My brain has yet to finish the sequencing of it, and as a result, the history of me inside of my own head is incomplete. When recalling any one of our ten fertility treatments, I often get the year wrong. I mean really, if it was all hell than 2012 vs 2013 is rather irrelevant, no?

But more than that, I can now see this guttingly high-speed transformative journey also took from me the opportunity to fully absorb who I was at each phase. So now, one year, two months and twenty seven days after the loss of our children, my brain is just starting to be able to access my less drastic memories. As the never-ending tornado of infertility leaves little time for processing, I suppose it’s only logical that any available brain and heart space would go to what is most urgent.

I feel as if I lost a segment of my life to a trip in a time machine. It’s as if my soul suffered a concussion. The infertile experience of being perpetually traumatized while your life is on pause is an odd coupling, to say the least.

But I can now, subtly, remember. I remember that girl who was hopeful and who was willing to try anything under the sun to bring her babies here. You see, there came a point on my path where I had to shut her out in order to not fall to pieces. She became a danger to my survival, but now when she is organically shown to me I’m able to see beauty, not a threat. And in my flashbacks I can feel her. She was full of love and hope and energy and in all of my attempts to comprehend and find footing and set boundaries and protect myself, I forgot about her. And as she is knocking on my existence again I am now able to see that a lot of the things I currently deal with are not due to failure. Or to my own shortcomings or to weakness or to a blackened perspective.

No. I loved hard is what it is.

If we did not love and hope and believe then we would not be so breakable. The smithereens that swaddle me are not remnants of failure, they are the remnants of love. I loved my husband, still do, and I loved the vision of us as parents and everything that went with it. I loved each and every one of our embryos and I loved my body because they would inhabit it. I loved the future children I saw who now dance exclusively in my dreams, and I even, somewhere smothered under the piles of angst that follow inseminations and transfers and two-week waits, loved that I, at the time, could have been pregnant.

Going through infertility and then coming out of it without children feels like someone put your life into a blender, set it on high, and just walked away.

The knowledge of all that love cannot accomplish in this dimension leaves me breathless. The collision of love with nature’s and the universe’s indifferences can be a tragic one. But remembering that the mess in which I sit comes from love is allowing me to touch again a space that feels slightly more human.

Now when I pick up the pieces of my life and comment on how “nothing seems to fit together – like – AT ALL”, with my newfound awareness of their true origin, perhaps I can at least hold my seemingly incongruent scraps with a bit more affection.

It’s All Coming Back To Me/Sung by Celine Dion/There were nights when the wind was so cold/That my body froze in bed if I just listened to it right outside the window/There were days when the sun was so cruel/That all the tears turned to dust and I just knew my eyes were drying up forever/I finished crying in the instant that you left/And I can’t remember where or when or how/And I banished every memory you and I had ever made/But when you touch me like this/And when you hold me like that/I just have to admit that it’s all coming back to me/When I touch you like this/And when I hold you like that/It’s so hard to believe but it’s all coming back to me/There were moments of gold and there were flashes of light/There were things I’d never do again but then they always seemed right/There were nights of endless pleasure/It was more than any laws allowed/If I kiss you like this/And if you whisper like that/It was lost long ago but it’s all coming back to me/If you want me like this/And if you need me like that/It was dead long ago but it’s all coming back to me/It’s so hard to resist and it’s all coming back to me/I can barely recall but it’s all coming back to me now/But you were history with the slamming of the door/And I made myself so strong again somehow/And I never wasted any of my time on you since then/When you see me like this/And when I see you like that/we see what we want to see, all coming back to me/The flash and the fantasies, all coming back to me/I can barely recall but it’s all coming back to me now/If you forgive me all this/And I forgive you all that/We forgive and forget and it’s all coming back to me/

One thought on “On Love and the Intelligence of Flashbacks

  • I’ve read this post probably 6 times and I want to say something but I don’t know what could possibly be adequate. So I will offer you a metric fuckton of big squishy hugs. This is so hard but we are stronger than we ever dreamed we could be. Because we have to be. It sucks. But I have to believe that we’ll come out of it stronger.

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