“When are you gonna get rid of this thing?”
MJ was on the computer when she growled the previous sentence at me. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I assumed it was something of little consequence or just a mild annoyance that was eating at her. But when she turned the laptop toward me and pointed to what was bugging her, I was blown away.
With a scowl on her face and genuine pissiness in her voice, she pointed to this:
I was shocked.
I explained that a very thoughtful blogging friend made that specifically for us in remembrance of Alex. And from there, dozens of other bloggers put it on their sites in support of what we went through. But all of that aside, I told her I like it. Sure it makes me a little sad sometimes, but I told MJ I also think it’s important for us to always remember Alex. And this button helps with that.
She disagreed. Big time.
She wants it gone. In fact she wants all traces of that incident erased. She told me remembering it just makes things more difficult. She told me hanging on makes me unable to move on. And it didn’t stop with Alex. She also took the opportunity to tell me it’s ridiculous that I’m still upset about my friend’s suicide 10 years ago. Just for good measure, she said she thinks it’s stupid to visit graveyards at all.
OK. First of all, I will admit I do dwell in the past somewhat. I know I come across as an insensitive prick most of the time, but I’m actually very sentimental. I have ticket stubs from meaningful sporting events littering the recesses of my house. The Patriots bottle opener on my keychain is 9 years old and I keep it because I found it on the ground after the St. Louis Rams game, after which the Patriots didn’t lose another game on their way to the Super Bowl. I even kept the shirt I was wearing the day I lost my virginity. So yeah, I get it. Sometimes I cling to things from the past.
But I will not take that badge down. Ever.
MJ has the uncanny ability to turn off all emotion and move on. Quickly. And good for her. Sometimes I wish I could be more like that. But what caused the real argument between is is that she’s mad at me for naming Alex. For turning her into a real person, because MJ doesn’t think she was one. I disagree. I am moving on from what happened, but unlike my wife I don’t want to forget. In fact, I refuse to forget. That whole ordeal changed me, for better or worse, and to pretend it didn’t happen or that it wasn’t real is not a viable option for me.
I find the whole thing ironic because MJ is a history major. And from what I remember in those classes, future success hinges largely on recalling past events. As long as people don’t get so bogged down in ancient history that they can’t function in the present, I see nothing wrong with remembering something/someone worthy of being remembered.
I would never do anything to intentionally hurt my wife or cause her pain. But that badge is staying there. And I refuse to apologize or feel guilty about that.