By Sandy Webb October 27, 2011

Memories come in many different shapes and forms. The things that can trigger a memory are numerous…a smell, a song, a book, a movie or television show and sometimes they just happen. There are childhood memories, high school memories, college memories, early adulthood memories, memories of finding that one true love and memories of your children.

I have lots of TJ memories; we spent 16 years creating memories. No, not all are good memories. It is impossible to put two stubborn, head strong, independent people together and not expect some volatility, but we did love each other very much and I have many more good memories than bad ones.

The memories that hit me the hardest are those that come out of the blue. It is usually a day that I am merrily going along in my new life and BAM! I have a déjà vu moment. The memory coursing through my entire body…I feel it everywhere. Suddenly I can no longer think about anything else, I become almost transfixed, I retreat into my own little world. The memory seems so real, so vivid, TJ is with me…I feel as though I could reach out and touch him. Then just as quickly as the memory came about it is gone. I am neither sad nor happy for a moment, I just keep trying to replay what just happened again and again in my head but it is no longer as intense and real. Then, depending on the memory I sometimes cry and I sometimes laugh and sometimes I even say out loud, “Holy hell, that was fun wasn’t it TJ?!”

I don’t have any idea what triggers these types of intense memories. When I reflect upon them I can’t find anything happening at that moment that would trigger the particular memory. I never had these types of intense memories about my Father when he passed nor do I have them about my Mother.

The intensity was somewhat frightening at first but I now welcome it. I believe these intense memories will not last forever so I have chosen to accept and even embrace them. I will always have the memories that TJ and I created together, although the intensity may diminish. I will cherish them for the rest of my life even as I move forward in creating new memories.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Sandy Webb is an Arizona resident who lost her husband to cancer in 2009. Sandy is sharing her experiences as her husband’s sole caregiver and her journey through widowhood with the hope of helping others. She understands that a cancer diagnosis affects not only the patient but family and friends as well.