gratitude-a-thon day 99: my memory, what’s left of it


My memory is going. I know everybody says that, but really, I’m telling you that my memory is…..what was that word again…..oh yeah, GOING. ‘

Let us dissect. From everything I’ve read, it’s normal to start forgetting stuff in your 50’s. Perfectly natural.  And while I am not forgetting where I am, or wondering what it is you do with a toothbrush, I am forgetting words. In the middle of a sentence. I just plain forget a word. While I’m talking. It’s like I see a giant white board in my forehead. I fumble, I throw in a some “um’s” and some “uh’s,” until I can retrieve the missing noun, verb or prepositional phrase. Honestly, sometimes I can do it, and sometimes I come up empty handed, using my hands if I’m face to face to try and describe the phrase that’s gone missing like a kid on the side of a milk bottle. Sometimes whoever it is I am talking to (or as the case may be, not talking to) will pitch in and participate in my little game of hide and seek. “Flower, wine, street, belly button, parsnip?” they’ll yell, as if playing charades. One day, my friend Deb was speaking and then she stopped and said, “can anybody finish this sentence?” And that about sums it up these days. If we’re talking, try and keep up, because you might be called upon to finish my thought.

Sometimes the kids talk about something that happened and I stare blankly at them like they are trying to pull one over on me. “When did we go to that restaurant?” I will ask, indignantly. And they will describe the event and get all dramatic about how ridiculous it is that I can’t remember said moment. I will push my little brain to try and recall. “C’mon cerebellum, get with it, cerebral cortex,” but they’re all like, “We’re 54, we’re exhausted. Who cares about the dumb restaurant, anyway.”

My husband has worked on Alzheimer since I have known him. I am always quizzing him on my memory issues. He claims if we get old enough, we’ll all get it. “But what about NOW?” I ask. “You don’t have it,” he says, giving me the “Pfffttttt” sound to let me know how crazy I am. But just because he works for Harvard and has been studying Alzheimer for the past 25 years doesn’t mean he knows, is what I think. Plus he can barely remember his name these days, so he should talk.

I have always been the memory for my sister who has barely been able to remember yesterday for her whole life. So, it’s kind of rough on her too. The two of us will be like the guy in the movie Momento, with tattoos all over us to tell us about our pasts.

A lot of my friends say the same thing, of course. And it is likely, very age appropriate. Still, it is unsettling, to lose some of the moments of your life that were once important. I wonder if maybe I can figure out a way to selectively remember. Like all the dumb people who are against gay marriage, or gun control. Those people, I’d be happy to forget.

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