Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Forgetting that you're forgetting

My mother died of Alzheimer's disease. Memories of her young self, her marriage, her children, her friends, all lost in plaques and tangles.  She forgot how to bathe, how to walk, how to talk, how to eat, how to go to the toilet.  She forgot night from day and back again. She forgot irony and nuance. It has been ten plus years since she died.  I never cried over her death; it was a relief.

Her legacy haunts me.  Like today, for example, when I had brunch with Ann, but lost my parking ticket.  Not that it mattered.  I told the man in the booth, "I just had breakfast in the restaurant . . ." and he cheerfully waved me on. 

I drove to University Hospital to visit a friend, only I couldn't find the hospital.  I found the Huntsman Center.  I found Primary Children's Hospital. I found Red Butte Gardens.  I drove in circles, up and down the hill, embarrassed, even though I was alone.  And then I was exhausted and went home.  He will be in the hospital all week.  I'll get Tom to go with me.

I forgot to bring a salad to someone's house.  Then I made a salad on another occasion when I had asked someone else to bring it.  It's either no salad or two salads.

I've replaced my driver's license three times in the last year.

I lost Ruby Mae's smocked dress.

It could mean I'm recording my own descent.  Or it could mean I'm as ditzy as I've always been.  Or it could be a whisper of panic in the middle of the day.  Nothing new there.

Here's the good news:  Netflix is running THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN, which is the best British series ever made.  Daphne Manners, guileless and awkwardly beautiful, is one of the finest protagonists ever imagined.  It all takes place in India beginning in 1942. You must see it.  You must!

There's nothing like it to forget that you are forgetting.


  1. The U's campus is a maze. If it's Alzheimer's, I have it, too. Great post, though. I love your writing.

  2. This post is sad, but the way you say it is lovely.

  3. Yes, beautifully said. I left my computer on today after leaving work. Big energy no no.

  4. my grandmother died of Alzheimer's (and i have to look that word up every time I write it) and it scares me that it's my destiny, too. I'm a total loser already. I lose my glasses, keys, wallet, and mind all the time. i've tried having systems to keep me from misplacing things, but maybe i lose them, too. I sometimes just pray for help to remember things because that's the only way I get by at times. I think the spirit sometimes nudges me when i'm about to do something like forget stuff, but I often fail to notice it in the moment, and only recognize it later when the lost thing is already lost.

    I don't have a netflix account. i used to have a friend who let me log on to theirs to watch, but they got rid of it after a while since they were too busy to use it. i'm too broke to justify signing up. But i do want to watch that show! time to make a new friend! xoxo

  5. Thanks for the news that Netflix is show "Jewel in the Crown." I can scarcely remember details of the series, but clearly remember that it was wonderful.

  6. I worry about this as well and then my husband very kindly reminds me that it is not that I am being forgetful it is just that I tend to live in my own world and so when I forget to bring my wallet it to the store it was more likely that it never even occurred to me that I might need it because I was so busy thinking about other things.

  7. Thanks for this, Louise. And for you, too.

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    1. Louise! You are charming, a talented writer, witty, kind, lovely (trustworthy, friendly, courteous, etc), so God gave you a flaw. Enjoy the often convenient gift of forgetfulness is what I say. A poignant post. Thanks.

  9. This calls for some jolly flippancy:

    “Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.”
    ― Steven Wright

    “If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”
    ― Edgar Allan Poe

  10. Upon your recommendation, I watched the first episode Crossing The River in The Jewel in the Crown. I've never heard of it until your post. I'm waiting for it to be the best BBC mini series.