The Heart Never Forgets
by Louise Gallagher
There was a time,
when your words and the things you did made me laugh
a time when your smile felt gentle on my heart
like warm spring rain after a harsh winter.
And then there are those times
when your words pierced my skin
slicing as sharp as a dagger to an apple’s core
leaving my heart exposed to the harsh cold winds of your anger.
There was a time.
Those times are all gone now
ended when your life careened, out of control
like a bullet racing steadily towards its target
on the road to forever gone.
I would take them all back
the good times and the bad
the laughter and the fights
I would take them all back to have you here again.
But there is no going back on death
No rewinding of time to get back those long-ago days.
There is only this time, flowing ever onward, relentlessly
carrying me towards the day when I too shall be, forever gone.
There will come a time when I will meet you there
on the road to forever gone. And when we meet, you will smile
and the past will be forgotten and our hearts will remember only
that which the heart never forgets, Love.
Perhaps it is that my brother loved to have a big fuss made about his birthday, at least until he started seeing signs of what he didn’t want to see, getting older.
Or perhaps it is that his passing was St. Patrick’s Day and I am wary of mixing laughter and good-times with the day he entered the realm of the ‘forever gone’.
Or perhaps, it is that his death along with the death of his wife, Ros who died in the same crash, was such a trauma-filled time, a time of grief and anger, of broken hearts leading to a broken family circle.
Whatever the reason, it is always on the day of his birth that his memory is strongest. A day I was not there for because, as I always liked to remind him, he was much older than me.
It is hard to imagine my brother at 72, which he would have been today. His memories are frozen in time, his face captured in photographs that ended on that day in March when time stopped moving forward for him, and we began the journey of learning to move on without him.
It was just before his 49th birthday. My sisters and I used to joke that George wouldn’t have enjoyed his 50th. It was too clear a delineation between younger days and older ones to come. He would not have liked the reminders that would have tumbled in on waves of love and laughter from his family and many, many friends. But we would all have loved the opportunity to get back at him for the countless pranks and jokes he had played on all of us.
It would have been my brother’s 72nd birthday today.
He is forever gone, as is the past. Today, my heart only remembers him with that which the heart never forgets, Love.