Living without memory…… imperceivable pain

What’s the big deal people say!
Why does it matter?
Why does it upset you?

This may explain why – just a little!

My dear friend, book collaborator and my only memory of my early years is Trish. While I thought we had explored all she knew of those years she recently dropped a bombshell, even though she believes she has told me before (more memory issues).

I think I was once more questioning what could have been happening in my life when I became pregnant at 19, and Trish recounted the day I told her I was pregnant and my subsequent thoughts. To confirm those memories she revisited her diaries – who would have known there was a reason for keeping those diaries all these years – and I have just read those recollections.

Of our time in Tasmania she believes my then boyfriend and I attended a doctor together, possibly about birth control or an abortion.

On April 27, 1972 she wrote, ‘My friend, dear old Lizzie has fallen pregnant to Peter and they talk of marriage within a month. The problem is that Liz is trying to convince herself this is the best thing that could happen. I say ‘try’ because I think she thinks otherwise.

Today she has known Peter 4 months. Her ‘news’ didn’t come as a shock to me but it dazed me a little.’

While not diarised she recalls a conversation at my work, Myer in Ballarat, where I casually told her I was pregnant while I continued to work and a following conversation where I stated, ‘I could have got pregnant other times but I didn’t …is this/does this mean that this is love and it wasn’t then (the other relationships)?

On June 4th she wrote, ‘Had a successful shower tea for Liz at the weekend’.

I was married on June 9th.

Who was I then?
Was I Mary…or Liz?
Or was I just horrendously confused!

Clearly it didn’t seem surprising to me or Trish that it happened. Obviously I had no concept of emotions, no sense of what love meant, and if any of those images that haunt me are true then it is understandable. Regardless of what I read of Trish’s recollections of that time I cannot evoke any trace of memory, any sense of being there, of being me.

No one will understand why, because if you have memories you cannot imagine what it feels like to have never existed.

Sixty years later it hurts.