When PTSD feels managed, I occasionally feel the need to just spend time with someone. Not needy, discuss feelings, tell me I'm not crazy time, but the kind of time when you just sit together quietly. Sometimes you talk a little bit. Maybe you lean against each other, just because. Sometimes you just do nothing because it's enough that you get to be together. You don't have to DO anything.
My cousin, Jeff, and I used to do that frequently. Sometimes I would read and he would take a nap. Sometimes we had snacks. Sometimes we compared hand size. Sometimes we just sat and giggled. No one understood us. We didn't care.
One time the two of us were left to make pasta sauce for the family. I don't know why. I think we were 10. We decided the sauce needed pepper. Then more pepper. And then more. With each pepper addition, we both agreed the sauce was greatly improved. The other relatives who ate it for supper disagreed.
Jeff referenced this on my Facebook page recently.
I'm still in the place where I'm surprised when someone remembers the same thing I do. I feel, often, that my memories are unique to me and no one else shares them, even if the experience was shared. I'm even more surprised when someone will say to me, "Remember when...?" It raises a host of questions for me. Why do they still remember that experience? Why do they mention it to me? What emotions do they feel when the memory arises? Is it just an interesting topic of conversation? Something we have in common?
Tolkien Boy once told me that people sometimes will bring up a shared experience because there was something that linked the two people together. They might be briefly reliving something funny or tender. It's a shared intimacy.
That makes me uncomfortable.
My memory is amazing, as long as it's not personal. Talk to me about books or poems I've read. Ask me to play the piano for a couple of hours-- all pieces memorized. Give me an hour to memorize lines from a play. Ask me about a conversation we had three years ago.
But if we shared a moment during which I felt vulnerable, there is no way I feel comfortable talking about it. Chances are, if you bring it up, I'll be trying to come up with a million ways to apologize for having that moment with you at all. And I'll probably ask you to help me come up with a plan so something like that never happens again.
When you're gone, however, when I no longer have to reconcile the fact that I may have touched or said or acted in a way that imposed intimacy on you, I'll probably, tentatively, think about how I, personally, felt in that moment. And I'll feel guilty for wanting the intimacy at all. But I'll still think about it.
And sometimes, when PTSD is at bay, and I'm not questioning my relationships or doubting that people love me, I'll wish for someone to be with me, sitting quietly, maybe talking a bit or leaning against me, just because, or perhaps just doing nothing because it's enough that we're together. And later, maybe years later, I think it would be okay for that person to say, "Remember when...?" And during the in-between time, I'll be working on saying, "Yes. That was a good thing. We should do it again."