The Forgettable Quality of Death

It’s kind of upsetting how easy it is to forget which people—who aren’t in your immediate circles—have died. I think I figured once someone died, your brain would pull up a sort of “404: File Not Found” error when you thought of them as a reminder… and this is not the case.

I first encountered this concept of forgetting someone has died in Jo Walton’s “My Real Children”—an amazing novel—but I assumed it was simply part of the main character’s larger memory problems. But… thing is… if you only knew someone distantly… well…

It feels immensely disrespectful, but death isn’t some paranormal thing that’s separate from the usual rules of memory failure. You can forget you had an appointment scheduled. You can forget a conversation you had. And yeah, you can forget that someone has died and is gone.

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