I remember the details of individual moments surrounding my father's death--the foggy morning, the flashing lights of the police cars and ambulance, already lined up at Mom and Dad's apartment building before I even arrived, the dread coiled in the pit of my stomach as I called various siblings to tell them the news--but I can't recall the bigger picture, the larger context.
What did I do that night, or the next day, or the day after that? What was on TV, what music played on the radio, what did I eat, how did I feel? These are the kinds of things I can recall without even trying. I can conjure vividly not only the superficial details from when my mom and my brother died, but the continuity surrounding those events. I can still replay in my mind tiny details of the days before and after, the life I led that was disrupted by these awful circumstances, and the time spent after trying to make sense of that which makes no sense: Conversations ignored, music half heard, minutes dragging on and on, as though time itself had stopped. And the better parts of those events, time spent with family and friends, memories shared and laughter erupting at unexpected times.
In other words, these are things that happened to me. I remember; I was there. Dad's passing seems more like a dream, arrived at without beginning or end, viewed like a movie but not actually experienced, certainly not felt. Maybe I was simply in shock from the first Big death of my adult life, or maybe I was unmoved because Dad's condition had deteriorated long before he died, or...
Or maybe there are no reasons. Details that have been forgotten can't be simply remembered. There's nothing to do, except to carry on every day with the odd, faintly disturbing feeling that a milestone in my life remains unmarked, and to perpetually wonder what that means.