Phantom limbs

A while back I had an email exchange with a ‘colleague’ (I use quotations because he’s a real guy – I think – but I’ve never met him in person and only corresponded by email). While we were talking about invisibility he told me about ‘phantom limb’ syndrome. 

A year earlier he lost a leg. How I don’t recall but I believe it was to illness. 

Still, he said, he felt it, regularly in the common phenomenon known as ‘phantom limb’ syndrome – or thinking that you feel the limb that you lost, as though it was still there. 

When one imagines ‘lost things’ as still being there are they ‘invisible’ or are they ‘not there’? I opt for invisibility as a question of voice on this matter. Things that aren’t there may still speak to you, not to remind you of their presence but to mask their absence. Phantom limbs are only phantom in that their physicality is removed from visibility but their memory remains and illusively promises their proclivity. There but not.

Many things that we lose live on – physical parts of us or emotionally connected parts of us. There are clothes and toys the loss of which I still lament, not to mention people I once knew and lost track of.

The fertility of their loss is remarkable in that they really never seem ‘gone’ – or at least not forgotten in that they ‘call out’ to me even though I cannot see them and touch them.

This I must explore more.