Remembrance Sunday is a day when we remember. We remember those that lost their lives fighting for a better Britain. We remember the everyday heroes that fought for our country, both on the battlefields and back at home. We remember the sacrifices that were made, and for that we feel truly thankful.
Remembering, in the other sense of the word, is something different altogether. As many of you will know, when I first came out of hospital I did not have the ability to form new memories. I also spent a significant amount of my stay in hospital in an induced coma, or on vast amounts of medication, which did not enable me to know my own name, let alone remember anything. This means that there is a rather large dark patch in my being, of what I have absolutely no recollection. Although the media latched onto this small detail and described me as ‘the girl that lost her memories’, at the time, I could not understand why this was so important. It was not until more recently that I fully understood what a vital role memory plays in our lives, and how a lack of memory can have such a devastating impact.
People are always saying that they would ‘forget their head if it wasn’t attached to their shoulders’, but I think it is important to try to understand what it is really like to live without a memory.
I am never sure how much information I can divulge about people I have met without getting into trouble, so for that reason I have tried to keep this as ambiguous as possible.
I was touched recently by a couple that were celebrating their wedding anniversary. It should have been a momentous occasion, reaching the quarter of a century mark after living a happy life together. Sadly though, one key ingredient to martial bliss is no longer present. One of them described it as ‘bitter sweet’.
They were thankful that their companionship was still alive, but there was sadness, that their past was no longer their future. One of them no longer has any memory; after suffering from a brain injury, they are no longer able to form new memories or retrieve ones from the past. This means that they cannot remember their wedding, their honeymoon, or any of those momentous occasions that have happened ever since. It means that they are living in a world that no longer makes sense. When each day is a struggle. When remembering is impossible.
I think that in today’s society, with people living longer, and higher levels of dementia and memory difficulties than ever before, it is important to try to remember those that cannot remember themselves.
For me, it makes the fact that we should be living each day as though it is our last, even more poignant. For me, it shows that on this day of remembrance, we should remember not just those heroes of war, but those who are everyday heroes in life, those that have to overcome hardships and still carry on each and everyday. For me, remembering is everything.
Here’s one of my last memories for a year…
3 thoughts on “Remembering is everything”
I wish I could write my thoughts down as good as you do.I totally agree with your story ,I seem to really notice how big the dementia problem is going to be here Australia . Keep up the great work
Thanks Mat that means so much to me 🙂
Well – if you missed the memory boat, you sure didn’t miss the writer’s ship – 🙂 Fantabulous post – and you’re right – there is a gift and a loss in memories being gone – I see, and understand both sides of the coin, in my limited way, simply because – I suffer from a very good memory – over long periods of time – I’m the enemy to politicians that flip their position 6 months into an election year and want everyone to believe they ‘always thought that way…” LOL
But – want to share what I ‘see’ when I read this post –
Whether you’ve retained your full filters and are being extra cautious to compensate for memory faculties OR you have a great support network that double checks before you hit the publish button (either way is fine – doesn’t matter – 🙂 in the end – you are a writer – and your brain – even if deemed ‘damaged’ by some collective standard – or even by your own wants, needs and desires – still has great gifts to give, just as is – 🙂
And so, I will post (i thought about sharing a link, but, figured I give you a quick way to copy/paste/print and hang over your writing area – cuz you need a daily reminder of the gifts you have – and this is the only way I know to send you my ‘gift’ of saying – thank you for writing!
The Storytellers Creed
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
That dreams are more powerful than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.
I am a writer. I am a storyteller. And this IS my creed.
I do not know yet, how hard it is for you to survive each day or write as you do – but I know this – There is nothing new under the sun on the human struggle, intents, motivations, yearnings – stick to writing about that – meld in what you observe that showed it to you with out identifying information and in person pics – or details of this instance of same-ole-same-ole story – and you’ll be okay – on the the posting blogs front – and if you wish to work to regaining your memory? OK – do what you need and want to – but for now, in this moment – all I see is someone who is a hell of a writer and shouldn’t ever be held back by temporary situations or permanent losses – use it till you can grow past it – or put it in place and say, this is who I am now – 🙂
Now – back to reading more of your works – – 🙂 I’ll try to keep future comments short and you may often get a string of likes – but wanted to establish a little bit here – for ya to know me – and how much I appreciate the introduction to you – without making ya slog through my (recently neglected) blog or my archives – – 🙂 Since I’m not here for marketing efforts, this route works for me –
You may read/delete this comment or approve – but wanted to tell ya – I’m so glad Nick reblogged your article, so I could ‘meet’ ya! 🙂