I wonder if it’s true that when we die, our lives flash before our eyes. And if so, what will be the images that I’m shown?

Because I have to say, I’ve seen some things in my life that I never want to see again. In fact, I’ve seen some horrendous things in my life that I wish I’d never seen at all.

And then, even worse – far worse, I’ve seen some beautiful, perfect scenes that are now too painful to recall. They are the ones that hurt the most.

So lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the scenes my eyes have taken in. And I wonder if it’s possible to change my perception of these images. I wonder if it’s possible to eventually file them in a section of my mind that makes it okay to think about them.

I think it all comes down where those images eventually lead. But maybe not. Hopefully not. Hopefully I can somehow, someway to decide to be okay with them. Hopefully…

In previous blog posts I’ve written about some of the images that have scarred me. And I’ve added to that collection in the last few weeks. Yes, in the collection that includes Wildflower bleeding all over a pillow while fighting for her life, my at-the-time wife showing me bruises on the inside of her thighs that her lover had left, my child running away from me after I told her that her mom and I were getting a divorce, and the sight of my  other child screaming out the car window for her mother to get in the car as we pulled away from our home for the last time. These images are now joined by the sight of my child standing in a court room in an orange prison suit (the collar half-up and half-down) with shackles on her wrists and ankles. And stuck together with that image is the sight of my child being patted down and cuffed outside of my house.

It’s these images that change the trajectory of a life. It’s these images that are so vivid that that they play inside a mind with the sharpest colors in 3 dimensions. And it’s these images that have the power to wash over other images and change them from happy memories to tragic.

Seeing my love walk toward me in a white dress was once one of the happiest memories in my mind. Second only to the image of my daughter as a baby and as a curly-haired little girl. But now those sights, those memories, they only bring me sadness. They only fill me with regret and with sorrow. And I can’t stand to think of any of it.

Oh the things we see.

And oh the things we wish we’d never seen.

I hate these living photo albums that exist inside my head. And I hate the captions written under each and every picture…

My love walking up the aisle to marry me.

My daughter waiting for me when I get home from work.

My daughter laughing as I swing her around while we dance in the living room to Dashboard Confessional.

Wildflower covering my eyes and singing to me softly on that first night we kissed.

Such beautiful precious memories. Now so painful.

I was always taught that water was turned into wine. I guess I never knew that wine could be turned into poison. I guess I never realized that sweet fruit so easily turns rotten.

Bruises on the inside of her thighs, handcuffs and shackles and oversized prison suits, walking away from me in Walmart like she barely knew me, like I was only someone she met once at a party.

It’s these things I’ve seen that weigh me down.

And I wonder if they’ll always be so heavy.

Or can I lighten the load? Can I, without depending on outcomes, decide to let them go or change them back to what they once were?

I’m not so concerned with the shitty memories – the blood and the arrests and hospital rooms and “love” affairs and all the horrible stuff that is understood to be horrible stuff. No, somehow I know I can deal with that.

It’s the happy memories that have been tainted.. those are the ones I want back. Those are the ones I want to be able to think about without feeling desperate. Without feeling lost and hopeless.

I want the happiness. I want the goodness. I want the hope.

And I want the knowledge of the happiness those images brought me without the knowledge of what happened later.

Is that possible? I don’t know.

But at least I still have hope that maybe it is. And that maybe, if our lives do flash before our eyes just before we die, maybe I can enjoy the sweet memories, just one more time, without feeling the pain.


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