The human mind is an amazing organ. It can hold more information than a computer, yet as we age, the data we’ve accumulated causes it to crash and even become useless. The one fear I have about growing old is that I will lose my memory and a whole abundance of joy because of it.
Nicholas Sparks wrote a touching story, “The Notebook,” which was made into a movie. It was a tale of an unlikely romance which developed over the summer and turned into a lifetime relationship. Unfortunately the woman in the story eventually suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. Prior to that time, she kept a journal of the high points of her life and the couple’s love for each other.
This is one of the many reasons I began blogging. In a way, it’s my life in a nutshell. Not only am I sharing these memories with you, I’m storing them up for future reference.
My life isn’t nearly as interesting as I sometimes indicate. I do have memory lapses occasionally. In fact last night I thought I had a rehearsal for the play I’m in. When I got there, I discovered that I was the only one there from the cast. The director wasn’t there either. When I rechecked my schedule, I found that there was no rehearsal scheduled for last night. This may seem like an oversight on my part, but it did cause me concern.
I’ve been known to completely forget an appointment – be a day late for a party – forget to turn on the crock pot when I’m going to be gone all day. I forget important birthdays, wedding anniversaries and sometimes I forget to kiss my husband goodbye when he goes off to work. OK those aren’t major memory lapses, but the thought of becoming confused, befuddled and incapable of taking care of myself is a seed which has already been planted in my mind.
It first happened when I started being asked if I felt safe at home. It continued as I read articles that indicate aging includes loss of memory and feelings of confusion. A few months ago I was teaching memory care patients the importance of keeping their minds active, by doing jumping jacks for the brain. Now I’m having trouble touching my toes. I’m actually having trouble finding my toes.
I think I’m still pretty much all there, but one never knows when it might happen. It can start with forgetting a specific date and mushroom into losing an entire year. This is why I write. Some day, if God decides this will be my lot in life, I’ll have the latter part of it journalized. Not that my life is more important than any other, but because those I hold dear, will know who I was and how I lived. They might even learn from my mistakes.
Memories often define who we are and what we do. They shape us, our personalities and beliefs. Once they’re gone, we’ve lost a huge chunk of a life. If you have a relative who is going through this challenge in their life, spend time with them. You may not be able to change the outcome of their malady, but the memories they still cling to can be a treasure trove to be passed on to future generations.
Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again.
From the musical, “CATS” by Andrew Lloyd Weber