WordPress.com sent me a Happy 2nd Anniversary message today, as it is 2 years since I registered this blog. The funny thing is it then took me another 42 days to work out how to get going, but this gives me an excuse to celebrate another 2nd anniversary! My blog seems to have developed a life of its own, and I enjoy the whole process of writing almost every day, of reading other blogs, and ‘talking’ to my global community. Stored written or verbal communication, such a this blog, allows me to recapture the information and ‘conversations’, even on the days I might not actually ‘remember’ them.
However, when I go back over my blog, it often feels like reading someone else’s work, as if I have plagiarised myself, and it is strangely disconcerting. Even though it happens a lot, I’m still not used to not remembering. A friend wrote on her Facebook page recently; ‘Makes me remember why the past is so important.’ This comment has unsettled me, and is pushing me to think more deeply about the impact of not remembering, of losing our past or present. It is the sense of loss of who I am, who I once was, what I talked about or did, the deep sense of not fitting in any more.
A family, work or friendship reunion used to be so much fun, the ‘remember when… ‘ comments belting out of everyone’s mouths, bringing laughter and sometimes tears, the shared times and events, the sense of shared identities, such as school friends. When a person has dementia, it is not just the memory loss, but the impaired cognition, the inability to keep up with conversations, or to cope in noisy crowds, a crowd being more than two people! The sense of our world disappearing or shrinking in front of our eyes is tangible, and painful.
The symptoms of dementia steal the essence of who we are, who we once were, and ultimately reduce us to become dependant, like small children. I often read of carers talking about a parent, and the role reversal required to care for them. I know from personal experience how very difficult it is for a child, including an adult child, not to be remembered on a birthday by their parent. I used to be a whiz at remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and even deaths, and although I have technology set up to remind me now, it still annoys me I need it in order to ‘remember’. And if I turn the technology off at first beep, then the chance of forgetting is very high. Thank goodness for my BUB!!