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Sunday, January 14, 2007

We have a relative who has that disease that affects the memory. It is not yet so advanced that she has no recognition of people. It may take a few seconds or minutes, but eventually she comes through with the recognition.

She can ask a question and within 10 minutes forget that she had asked the question. She spent the latter half of the day with us, and yet she will have no memory of it. In fact, by the time we brought her back home, she had no memory of ever eating dinner. We gave her another piece of the same pie she had hours before, and she has no memory of having ever eaten that pie. So literally, this is a person who lives only in the present moment.

The mystery for me is that if you cannot remember what happened 10 minutes ago, how do you piece together your day? Is every day the same? When you think back to your morning, is it the same "morning memory" that gets played? When you think back to an hour ago, is it the same picture for that particular time of day?

It seems to me that if you are diagnosed with this disease, then it's time to make happy memories. It's time to let go of petty things, time to help strangers so that you might remember that you make a difference without the expectation of seeing them again, time to gather with other people so that you don't "remember" that your days were spent in loneliness, time to plan your days so that you look forward to an enjoyable activity, so that if you're stuck in a moment in time it'd be a pleasant moment.