A couple of nights ago, my husband and I were talking. My mother had just left and this was the first time in weeks that we actually had the time and the energy to have a normal conversation. He asked me if I think about my father a lot. And the answer is "no." At least not in the sense that I consciously sit (or stand, or walk) and think about times past all the time. But he is always with me, somewhere in the back of my mind. A constant presence. Like my brother. Both my brother and my father have their own little compartments in my mind where the have housed themselves, and make their presence always known, although not overbearingly so.
My husband told me he had never heard it described like that, so this may or may not be a common occurrence. My brother occupied his space shortly after he got ill, and he's been there comfortably ever since. My father moved in when he got sick a little less then two months ago. Initially my father tried to take over a rather large spot in there. Since I realize I have to move on and get things done, I cannot allow him so much room. Now the territorial battle seems to have subsided a little bit. He seems happy with the allotment of my brain assigned to him, and only occassionally does he come out and try to invade other parts of me mind. It will get less. We will settle down at some point and agree how much space he can take up.
Does this sound creepy? Considering that I'm a staunch atheist, there is nothing remotely religious about this concept, although it's easy for me to see that others with similar experiences may mistake this phenomenon as such. It's just a way to carry the people I love and lost with me, and remembering them without actually having to sit down and bring up specific memories. It's very comforting to me. Both my brother and father are always very close at hand. It keeps them alive, at least in my mind. All the time.