Some memories can not be replaced
As we go through life we start to build a cache of memories from the time we are born. The things we do, the people we meet and the situations we encounter all start to form a memory box in our mind that we often access in times of need and sadness. We create good memories, bad memories, memories that have significance and sometimes memories that we would rather forget. Often, we allow those memories to override each other. When we need to feel good, we allow the bad memories to sabotage our effort to do so. When we feel bad we sometimes use our good memories to bring us out of bad place. Memories serve a host of purposes in our every day lives.
As we well know, our ability to remember ebbs and flows as we get older. Some things stay bright and in the forefront of our minds. Others fade away and are almost impossible to find even when we try to access them. Some slip away to make room for new ones and others are quickly discarded as soon as they happen. This is all a natural part of life and aging. Where it becomes difficult is when one has to deal with Alzheimer’s or Dementia and their cognitive thoughts are affected by their biology.
Those of us who have directly dealt with patients with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, such as my grandmother had, know first hand the effect those terrible diseases have on an individuals ability to share their memories. Although in their mind their memories may be intact, their ability to verbalize and share them becomes more and more impossible. Unfortunately, what results is lost familial history that we wish we had. This is why it is incredibly important to gain knowledge that interests us in relation to family history while we have the opportunity.
We never expect our loved ones to come down with memory stealing diseases, but it unfortunately affects more people than it should. We sometimes don’t even realize that the disease is starting to take hold until it is too late to extract the knowledge that we seek. It is why we have an obligation to stay close to and care for our older loved ones throughout their lives and not just when they are sick and need us most.
When my grandmother was in her early stages of her dementia, I fortunately had many opportunities to sit with her and ask her family questions. She also took the opportunity to share things with me that I never knew. It was her way of clearing her soul as she prepared for that last phase of her life.
If we give them the opportunity they will talk to us, if only we will listen. Use those opportunities to learn all that you can, when you can. When the memories are gone they are gone for ever and unfortunately some memories can never be replaced.
Have a great day, listen and remember to be the reason someone smiles.
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