Can I share something with you? I woke up a bit anxious today. There is much going on nationally that impacts my day-to-day work and I’m getting ready for several trips while I still have a ton of work to do. Typical 21st century anxiety. I’m not really anxious about my anxiety. What I am experiencing is momentary. And I tend to distract myself from my anxieties.
But as I was thinking of my trips, I of course, started thinking of my mother and somehow I started thinking about memories. Well, not somehow. That is silly. Of course, when I think of my mother it triggers memories. And as I started going down memory lane, as a psychologist, I started thinking about the act of remembering. I started thinking about the very essence and nature of memories and how that makes up in large part who we are.
Now, why did I start thinking about this without two solid cups of coffee in me, I don’t know. I’m a glutton for punishment, I suppose.
But let me get back to my mom for a second.
I loved my mother immensely. That’s not a secret. And even with her passing, I still do. For the longest time, she was my life. She was my playmate, my cheerleader and my mom. Because of this all I had this longstanding, horrific fear of losing her. Then one day she had a horrible miscarriage that I witnessed. I won’t go into the details as they definitely impacted me for a long-time. But my main issue was that I was even more scared of losing my mom. I could not imagine living a day without her being around. And of course, I did want many kids do. I grew up and left home. My poor mom. But such is the cycle, eh?
When my mom did come to pass from this earth I couldn’t believe that what I had feared most growing up had come to happen. Then I started thinking about memories and how precious they are to us all. Then I started thinking about how I don’t want to lose the memories of my mother and loved ones.
In this country Alzheimer’s is somewhat a common disease with an estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages with the disease. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys one’s memory and the thought of that overwhelms me. I become fearful of it. And research upon research study tells me slightly different things as to the why’s of the disease. Have you ever seen the movie Sex, Lies, and Videotape? It is one of my old favorite movies. Back when James Spader had hair-a lot of hair! In the movie, the female protagonist played by Andie McDowell, ruminates and obssesses with the idea of garbage and wonders where does all the garbage go. I feel like I just had a similar moment.
Back to memories. I feel so much sympathy for individuals who care for family members with the Alzheimer’s. The heartbreak must be immense to see someone not only losing part of themselves but bits of you as well. Luckily photographs and videos exist to help preserve memories but they are just a supplement.
So I woke up today wondering what are we without our memories? What do we do without our memories to anchor us?
And with that I must run to make some more…