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Memory loss, does it come back?


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My partner passed 2 months ago, and I’ve been completely zoned out on life for the last month. Not even in autopilot, just not really here at all. I haven’t left my house, I mostly just sleep all the time. I haven’t seen a single person besides my mom (mostly because of covid, but I wouldn’t want to see anyone anyways). I basically spend all day distracting myself with stupid TV shows. I can’t go back to work, I don’t think I can ever even go back to the job I had before because my brain won’t let me. Anyways, my issue is, I can’t remember anything. I know my old life existed, but I can’t remember a single thing from it. I sit and cry because I can’t remember him, and no matter how much I know that our love was real and existed, I can’t remember how I used to feel. I feel like I’m not even in my own head anymore. I can tell people stories about me and him and what we did together, but it’s like I hear the words coming out of my mouth but it isn’t me saying them, I don’t remember those memories that I’m sharing. I can remember some of the “bigger” events (vacations, stuff like that), but I don’t feel like it was me living them, and I just flat out can’t remember any of the more minor things. I can’t remember the stupid little things that we did together every single day. I can’t remember how we spent every day and every night. And I’ve heard people say that they went through periods where they didn’t know if their partner actually existed or their brains had made it all up, but I don’t feel like HE never existed- I feel like I never existed. 

Has anyone or does anyone feel like this? And if so, did you ever get it back? I’m so scared that all this trauma caused my brain to forget everything and I’ll never get it back. I feel like I’m just a shell, like I have this void but I don’t know where it came from, because I just never existed. I just want to be able to remember him and us and the way he made me feel, but I can’t... 

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I am sorry for your lose.  Slow down, you are so early on your grief path.  Give yourself this time if you can stay away from work. 

Perhaps stop trying to remember thing and instead focus on yourself.  Eat and sleep on a schedule that suits you.  Then focus on what are you going to do today.  Try not to think past today - live today in your new skin sort of.  I'm not sure I can explain it right, but, if you live day by day calm,, your memories will creep back.  So much of our brain is trying to come to grips with what has  happened on a subconscious level. 

The brain is too busy subconsciously to bother with much of anything else.  Give yourself time.

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Your memory will return. Right now your brain is trying to protect you.  It may not be doing that in the best way, because your brain has suffered a traumatic injury.  Give your brain time to  heal by focusing on basic tangible things you have to do today. 

Focusing on all the simple, doable tasks of personal hygiene, feeding the dog, washing dishes or clothes, making your bed, opening the mail - all these little things you know how to do takes pressure off your brain as it is struggling to recover. 

Self-care and making some order in your home are good for you mentally as well as physically. The things you have to do today will be challenge enough.  One example from my experience is there were 3 or 4 times when I was driving to work, a 30-mile drive that I had been making for 7 years, when all of a sudden I had no idea where I was.  I didn't recognize the road I was on. I didn't know where I should turn.  I had to pull off the road and just sob, because I was losing my mind.  After I got control of myself, if I still didn't recognize where I was, I'd push the "go home" feature on my Garmin and drive towards home until I recognized something again.  Then I'd turn around and head back to the office.  I know that sounds crazy, but sometimes my brain would just go blank like that.  I didn't go back to work until almost 3 months after John died, so this happened to me 3 or 4 months into my grief journey. 

You may not experience that particular trouble, but just know that your brain is really struggling right now and you won't be your usual competent self for some time. This is why we are cautioned not to make big life changing decisions in the first year.  It is why it is so hard to figure out what our future will be. 

Don't focus on the long term issues right now. You will be able to figure that out later, when your brain has recovered. 




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23 hours ago, Rashell said:

Has anyone or does anyone feel like this? And if so, did you ever get it back? I’m so scared that all this trauma caused my brain to forget everything and I’ll never get it back.

Oh Hon, my heart goes out to you!  I am so sorry for your loss!  It is the single hardest thing I've been through in my life, losing my companion dog I got after my George died felt akin to it, although it didn't hit me on as many levels as my husband's loss did, obviously.  When you have your person and they're in your life every day and you were soulmate, this is how it is, how can it not?!

What you are talking about is the brain trauma we go through in early grief.  Yes, you will get your brain back...for the most part (I don't think I was ever the same employee again after losing George).  I remember him and our memories clearly and it's been nearly 16 years, I remember his smell, his beautiful blue eyes that sometimes turned green.  I remember how it felt when he held me.  I've never felt anything close to it before or since.

Read here:

Widow Brain
Grief brain-loss of mind
Brain Injury comparatively

Grief Healing: Coping with “Brain Fog” in Grief: Suggested Resources

We welcome you here and hope you'll continue to come here and read/post, it helps to express yourself to others who "get it."

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.


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15 hours ago, Gail 8588 said:


Your memory will return. Right now your brain is trying to protect you. 

I think that's it in a nutshell. This is far too intense, so your brain is detaching yourself from it out of necessity. Memories right now are a reinforcement of the loss..the last thing you need. Survivor instinct, in a way. Allow for that. In time they will shift. You need more time. 

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