When my mom’s close friend passed away three months ago, I debated whether or not to take her to the wake. I was exhausted, weather forecasts were terrible, and the journey would include an expensive cab ride to and from the funeral home.
“She’ll never remember it,” another friend said. “I don’t think you should bother.”
Sound advice, I thought, but in the end I didn’t listen to it.
I took her to the funeral home, and the family was overjoyed to see her. She seemed really happy to be there. But the next day, she had no recollection of it. She’d even forgotten that her friend had died.
Still, I’m so glad I took her.
We spend so much energy and time trying to lay down good memories, doing things that may not be much fun in the moment, but that we’ll remember the rest of our lives. We raise our children with lessons and experiences we hope they’ll remember well into adulthood. Memories make us who we are.
But Alzheimer’s is teaching me that memories — like anything in life — can disappear, and so we also have to live in the moment, and for the moment. Because the moment is all we really have.
I’m so glad I didn’t deny my mom the moment of saying goodbye to her friend, even if her memory of it is gone forever.
Glad you took her. Wise of you.
ey you, Have been following you but after this post I decided to respond. I am very happy you took mom to the funeral. You may not believe she does not remember but if there is a little glimmer of hope sh will memtion it to you very soon….Keep the faith!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks, Tina. I know you’re right about this. Some days, she may very well remember pieces of it. I’ll never know what she really remembers and what she doesn’t. Thank you for reading!
You have become a Buddhist nancy
A number of years ago, we moved into a new house. As we always do, we put notes through the neighbours’ doors to introduce ourselves and invite them round. The old gentleman next door came round to say hello. After about half an hour he left, very politely asking who we were. Again.
It didn’t take long to realise he had almost zero short term memory. For weeks afterwards, he introduced himself every day, and asked who we were. Until one day he came round in some fluster to say there was something on his bedroom window. Something on his bedroom window. Something on his bedroom window…
So I obediently trotted round and we both rather apprehensively went up to his room to look at his bedroom window. “Ohhhh,” he said. “It’s two white doves. I’ve got two white doves on my window sill.” And we stood together admiring them for a few minutes before they flew off.
I loved this. He couldn’t really remember who we were, but he had created just enough knowledge/pathways in his brain to know we were someone he could share this special moment with. Even if he couldn’t remember WHAT the moment was until we got back and he saw it again for the first time.
I have really enjoyed reading your posts… keep it up! I thought I would offer another perspective about this, based on something you wrote. Both of you gave that family a lot of happiness by attending. Certainly, your mom had no recollection, but they did and it probably will mean a lot for a very long time.
Thank you so much, Lauri. Yes, my sense before we went to the wake was that we should do it for her friend’s family. I didn’t know that she would “enjoy” it as well, but I knew that it would make a difference to them. And it did.
Reblogged this on Enchanted by Change and commented:
“We spend so much energy and time trying to lay down good memories, doing things that may not be much fun in the moment, but that we’ll remember the rest of our lives. We raise our children with lessons and experiences we hope they’ll remember well into adulthood. Memories make us who we are.
But Alzheimer’s is teaching me that memories — like anything in life — can disappear, and so we also have to live in the moment, and for the moment. Because the moment is all we really have.”