Don’t forget

It’s been a privilege to be part of countless conversations with individuals and groups. Yesterday, a dear friend reminded me of something I said 30 years ago, then asked, “Do you remember saying that?” I laughed and said, “No, I don’t remember saying it, but I agree with it.” One of the best things about groups is that continuing conversations across the years help us remember things that matter.

I’ve learned not to ask. It’s a mystery. In her assisted living abode and her current rehab facility, my aunt sometimes wears clothes I’ve never seen, such as her now favorite brown sweater. A staff person told me over the phone that as long as she’s wearing that sweater, she’s content. I don’t think I packed it for her, but I don’t remember. Yesterday, I said, “That’s a pretty sweater you’re wearing.”

Immediately, she said, “It was a Christmas gift.” I asked, “Last Christmas?” She said, “Yes, I think Grace gave it to me.” Her older sister Grace died in 1988. Then she reminded me how Grace helped with her college tuition and books. Our conversation included several other family members that are deceased but about whom she spoke in the present tense, including her late son. She said he’s “at work.”

Memory is powerful. No one’s memory is perfect. Each moment is fleeting. I choose to live within whatever reality one happens to be. I don’t “correct” about who’s still living. They may know more than I think they know. And, they may know more than I know. We help each other re-member. The thing to remember is that we remember what’s really important. Don’t let me forget that!

From, “Case of the Malleable Memory,” by Kristine Keller, Psychology Today, November 28, 2014

One thought on “Don’t forget”

  1. It is so much better to not correct an old person’s memory. It is usually about something very unimportant like whether a loved one is still alive or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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