Try to remember …

Memory, like many things, is often taken for granted—until it’s lost. My mother is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She realizes it, but most of the time pretends it’s not happening. “Everyone forgets things,” she’ll say, but I can tell by her voice she knows what she’s forgotten is more serious than where she set her purse or what she walked into the kitchen for.

I fear losing my memory—or precisely, losing my memories. The other day, someone mentioned an event I felt I should have remembered, and it shook me a bit that I didn’t. I thought of many wonderful events in my life I would hate to forget, but someday due to Alzheimer’s or ordinary senility, I will begin to lose those memories. My recent loss of valued Christmas ornaments and decorations reinforced my fear. Yes, I still have the memories association with each item—but for how long?

Sad to say, I’m not a writer who kept journals all her life. I wish someone had taught me about journaling when I was young. I would have had my life in written form. Ah-h, if wishes were horses … Still, it’s not too late. I could record all the precious memories I’ve retained. I’m a writer; I could do that.

New plan: whenever something from my past comes to mind, I’ll write it down. I will have my memory in written form. A memoir in its purest form. And if, when I’m ninety, I forget these things happened to me, they should still be good reading.

The Mojave Desert at 75mph

 

Note: I included this photo for those of you who didn’t see my road photos and witty repartee on my Facebook page. (Just kidding, it was the first time I tried updating my status from my iPhone, so I was too befuddled to be witty. At least that’s my excuse.)


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20 thoughts on “Try to remember …

  1. I’ve never been good at keeping journals. All I’ve got is poetry that conveys my mood-of-the-day. I never liked to have my thoughts written down because someone else might happen to see them. I know, I’m strange 🙂

    My grandma was in the late states of Alzheimers when she passed away before Thanksgiving. It’s very hard to watch the progression. My thoughts are with you.

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  2. I wish I had kept diaries. My memory is really bad for things that haoppened in my early life. My husband on the other hand has an amazing recall of dates & events. I keep a journal now but it isn’t very inspiring!!

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  3. My grandma is turning 87 next week, and the stories she tells! there’s a lot she doesn’t remember, but a lot she does. I have no experience with Alzheimer’s, but it must be scary and heartbreaking for you to see these changes in your mother. Keeping a journal sounds very proactive.

    Love that btw in last post of mountains. hope you have great trip!

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    1. It’s definitely scary, Jennifer. I know some people do morning pages, and I think I’ll look at mine that way. Thank you. It’s disappointing there’s only a little snow, but we’re having a great time with family.

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  4. My mother-in-law has dementia so I know where you’re coming from, Linda. I told my husband a long time ago, that we have to stop grieving the person his mother was and enjoy who she is now. It’s not an easy thing to do. Not only that, it makes us more aware of the question– who are we without our memories?

    I’m not one to journal, either. Maybe it’s something to think about doing in the future.

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    1. That’s a good way to look at it, Laura. It’s sad to lose the person they were.

      I’m going to try to make an honest attempt at journaling this next year. Maybe if I start with recording memories, it will easier to continue.

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  5. What a lovely post, Linda–very touching and very honest–thank you for sharing those thoughts.

    I often feel when I write that I draw from memories I might not otherwise rediscover, and that gives me comfort, since I have never been good at keeping journals, try as I have.

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    1. Interesting thought, Erika, that we could, or are, recording some form of our memories in our fiction. I’ve blogged about the importance of the memory to fiction writing. I suspect the best fiction writers are those with a wealth of memories.

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