I was talking with a guy, during a break at work (between depositions actually) about personal narratives. He had problems with the changes in focus and details in the narratives of Joseph Smith. His feeling is that things could not have happened or the narrative would not have differences.
But it made me think of the differences in the narratives I have in my life. Robin's death, for example, was a life changing event. Yet, do I tell the story the same way every time? Do I focus on the same details? Perhaps how the responders asked me questions, like my eye color, that I couldn't answer (I started to get ready to pull out an eye so I could see the color and answer the question). That was a significant event for me, yet I've never mentioned it before (or written about it, though I think about it from time to time when thinking about her death). Does that mean that the death never happened and I'll turn around and find her eating breakfast with Rachel?
No, it just means that when asked about the event, depending on who I am talking to or why I am writing about it, I may mention some details and compress or skip others. The intensity of it all sometimes overwhelms memory as well and I'll forget the day or the year. Seems something I could never forget, but I do, it is overwhelming. Eventually I remember again, or read http://adrr.com/living/ again, refreshing the dates.
With Jessica's death, the narrative changed as I understood the cause of her death and the events more and more. It was too much to deal with, the death of my first and oldest child, nothing like I had ever experienced before. But that doesn't mean she didn't die either or that the experience was not intense beyond words. Reality is not so simple.
Well, two birthdays to go, Valentines week is always difficult, starting around the 26th of December, then the 26th of January, then to the 16th of February. But oh, if making those things not have happened was so simple as the fact that my narratives are not always verbatim the same.