I don’t have a great memory and at times it worries me. Will I get Alzheimer’s disease? Watching my mom lose her memory has made me think about how important our memory is and how we go about our lives not thinking about it usually. We all forget names, misplace things, forget appointments or walk into a room and forget what we were going there for. Some forgetfulness happens with aging but Alzheimer’s is not the normal for aging. It is a terrible disease. Sad to watch someone you love struggle to remember things and people, how to do routine tasks and even how to talk or eat.
When I wrote “The Cedar Canoe,” my mom’s dementia was still in the early stages and I was still in denial about it. I wrote and I quote myself: “in the end memories are all we have left, and all we become.” That is what I believed at that time and there is some truth to it; my ancestors are memories to me now. I didn’t even think at that time that my mom would be robbed of her memory.
I have often wished I could forget the horrible things that have happened to me; the night I stood outside my son’s apartment waiting for the forensics people to bring his body out. And there have been many other memories I would like to wipe away. But when I really think about it, those incidents are a part of me and who I am. I am fortunate that I have my memory. I don’t want to forget those people who were part of those incidents. I never want to forget Ryan, the sound of his voice, the feel of his hair, the smell of him. Those are still inside me and I pray they stay there.
They are making great strides in Alzheimer’s and dementia research and are now saying that there may be a cure in a few years down the road or that they will at least be able to prevent it from happening. I hope so.