Grief has a really weird effect on the brain of the grieving person. It makes me think of folks with certain types of brain injuries who have to write notes to themselves so they remember to do simple things that used to be second nature before the injury.
In the early days of grief, we lacked the energy or wherewithal to dress ourselves, feed ourselves, make simple decisions, think. Those things have gradually improved, although I know for myself, some occur again every once in awhile.
As time goes on, though, Paul and I both realize we will forget to do things unless we write them down and place the notes somewhere conspicuous. He left his baseball cap in the Sunbirds store while trying on skull caps for work. We totally forgot until we were on our way home, giving him time to call and ask the customer service desk to find and hold it, but not enough time to go back and pick it up.
We left it there for two full weeks. Out of sight, out of mind.
In October, we bought a new vehicle, a 2011 Honda Pilot. We hadn't intended to buy that day, were merely test driving, but a last-minute closing-time visit to a dealer - truly just so Paul could take one last look - resulted in them making a deal we couldn't refuse. Heck, they took my 2004 beat-to-Hell Subaru as a trade, sight unseen...we'd intentionally taken Paul's truck on our little trip south to test drive the three top contenders specifically so none could see our trade and we wouldn't be coerced into buying. Backfire...but I'm satisfied with the purchase (even though I hate having a car payment). At least this one is reliable and big enough to fit as many babies as I can gestate at one time (should we get that opportunity).
Fast forward to late November. Driving to work one morning, not far out of town, I saw some sort of truck coming at me in the opposite lane, yellow lights flashing. It was foggy and below freezing, so I wasn't going full speed (the limit is 50 through there). Suddenly, my ears were attacked by a horrible sound...what my brain registered as a deicing truck, or maybe a sand truck, was actually throwing pea gravel. He shouldn't have continued to spread while passing me, but he did, pelting my brand new vehicle with hundreds of rocks, causing 10 rock chips in my windshield, dents in the paint on the driver's door handle, back of the driver's side mirror and headlight lenses, and full-on paint chips - down to the surface under the paint - all over the upper and lower surfaces of the bumper.
I told Paul and a co-worker when I got to work. I should have written down the date. By the time a week had passed and we got a lead on who to talk to, none of us could remember which day it happened...only that it was 7:10 a.m., dark, foggy and 26 degrees. Great. Now, more than a month later, Paul can't remember to call and pursue having the county (we're hoping that's who is responsible, rather than our fair-and-unlikely-to-pay small town) to figure out how to get a claim going so the car can be repainted.
The best example, though, happened just last week. On Christmas Day, as we were getting ready to leave to join Paul's family, he searched high and low for his jacket. This is a nice jacket, the shell of a Cabela's coat I bought him for Christmas last year (I think, who knows?), and it was nowhere to be found. Not only that, he couldn't remember when he'd had it last or where he wore it.
Midweek, during a brainstorm, we came up with a few restaurants we'd visited the week prior, and I called to ask whether his jacket was there. Nope. It wasn't left behind at the TEARS Foundation office, either, when we attended the holiday remembrance gathering. Another common behavior of grieving parents, especially, is dining out rather than in (we still only cook perhaps 3 times per week, at most, but want to improve in this area...dining out gets really old and expensive). I scoured our bank records looking for other places we may have eaten and left his jacket behind, but came up blank.
Late last week, Paul said, "You know, we ate at The Grill sometime before Christmas." Funny, I didn't remember that at all, and couldn't find it in the online banking account. We remembered later that I'd had to write a check because their debit machine was down that night. I called. Yay, they had the jacket!! We swung by and picked it up on our way to eat out somewhere else. :)
That night, as we were getting ready for bed, Paul looked at me and said, "I'm so glad you remembered we ate at The Grill." I thought he was joking, so was more confused when I asked, "What are you talking about?" He truly thought I came up with the idea, and had no recollection of reminding me we had eaten at The Grill.
Between the two of us, we couldn't fight our way out of a paper bag at this point.
Such is grief.