8 Years: The Right to be Forgotten

September 17th, 2014 § 0 comments

It’s been eight years since you died and I’m thirty: the Lissy you knew would have found these things unimaginable. Over drinks at a lovely rooftop bar this summer, basking in warm sunlight, I spoke of you to a good friend and ruefully smiled as I looked on bright side. “At least I don’t have to wait for my soul mate,” I said, “he died years ago.” The older I get and the more we grow up, the more I wonder who you really were. We never got a chance to find out, and I wonder constantly who you’d be now, what you’d say about the world, what kind of opinions you’d have and what you’d think of mine.

The Veiling

The Veiling

Every time I sit down to write this it never seems to get any easier. I say it every year, and every year it’s true: your passing marks the beginning of fall. These chilly days, dark too soon in the evening and too dim in the morning, will always remind me of the past and of the things I miss, as I am driven inside and away from my forgetful outdoor pastimes. You’d laugh at so many things about me—my being thirty for one, remember that 12-year-old I used to be?—you’d admire my travel and my writing and you’d understand my illness. As many times as I wonder nervously about the man you would have become, who you might have married, what you would have done with that wealth of talent you possessed and all your goodness, I settle for simply remembering how much you’re missed.

Heaven and Earth

Heaven and Earth

A few weeks ago as I was sleepily dressing for work I heard a story on NPR. It was about a man who had lost a loved one and how google, or their online persona, wouldn’t disappear and couldn’t be removed. I seem to remember the story relating to the ‘right to be forgotten’ debate, and the griever was haunted by digital reminders of his loss. I was full of sympathy, as I remember what that feels like, but I also felt, for lack of a better word, experienced. I listened patiently thinking, it gets better, it hurts less and one day, believe it or not, you’ll love to be reminded, even by something painful. I google you sometimes, not because I expect to find anything but out of hope that I might. I wish the Internet remembered you, but I don’t think you even had a Facebook.

The Sleep Of Reason

 The Sleep Of Reason

I know it’s not an existential question they’re asking in Europe when they discuss the right to be forgotten, yet is a wonderful topic for metaphorical thought. I love the idea of being allowed to be forgotten, and if you have the right to be forgotten than I suppose I have the right to remember? I remember you exactly how I wish to and yet as each year passes you become a person whose absence has changed me more than most people’s presence. Truth is I don’t think we get to control if we are forgotten or how, when or in what manner we are remembered. I wanted to tell the NPR man to be patient and to wait a few years, perhaps a decade. When I talk about grief people are surprised how long it lasts, and most of them believe a year is a long time to mourn. You will want to remember, anonymous man, but not for a long time. You will never wish to forget, but you will forget and before you even realize it. As I see it, you don’t have the right to be forgotten and I’ll do everything I can, if it means writing 50 more of these missives, to remember you.

Going forth by day - The voyage

Going Forth By Day — The Voyage

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