Memory and memories

November 25, 2010

I ordered a book a few days ago that's been on my wishlist for months, called "Remind Me Who I Am, Again?"

It's about a woman whose mother is suffering from dementia, and it describes beautifully their interactions and the way she feels about her mother's gradual decline.

I wanted to read it because my grandmother had Alzheimers and I recall how much my mother was upset by it, and also because my mum is so scatty that she thinks she might end up "going doo-lally-tap" (her words). And I'm not the most with-it in the memory department either, so it's highly likely that one day I will "become a mentalist" (Mattgreen's words) too.

So forewarned is forearmed, and all that stuff. I've just started reading it today, and I'm already struck by the author's newfound interest in her family history, just at the point when there's nobody left who can remember it. I've always found family history rather dry and dull, and can only barely feign interest when my mother rattles on about random great-uncles. I wonder whether I will ever start to care about such things? I can't imagine it - I'd always rather think about the future than the past, and even my mum's recent excavation of various items from my childhood* has made me more uncomfortable than reminiscent or sentimental.

I kind of feel that all the bad stuff in my life is in the past, and I've really only been happy since I met Mattgreen. Things steadily improved from about 1998 onwards, and I could quite happily jettison all my memories from before that time without feeling like I was really losing anything.

Anyway, the book is going to be brilliant, I can tell because I keep trying to half-read it whilst cooking or in the three minutes before I have to go out the door. So if you'd like to borrow it when I'm done, send me an email.

* Such as loads of old photos, a ton of vinyl from unheard of 90's bands that's going to end up at the tip and two Great Universal catalogues from 1975, which Mattgreen has already ransacked for Geek Gold.

Oh I would love to borrow it... sounds right up my street. Funnily enough I too am a live for the present/future and not the past (at least try to!) kind of girl, but in the last couple of years I have taken a huge interest in my parent's stories of their early life, life together, people, places, memories etc. Last summer I actually recorded about 5 hours of video interviewing each of them. It was amazing. Just to sit down with them individually and let them talk - it was quite wonderful what came out. Emotional, interesting, engaging - i felt as though I knew them both so much better than I ever had. I got to know them as the people they are, not the parents.
I do however cringe when my mum opens up a suitcase of clothes for Isabella to play with and I see the brown knitted suit, or the vile orange and brown floral dress that ruined my childhood!
I'll bring the book over at Christmas!
I think interviewing your parents is a lovely idea, amazing. I might try it with my Mum, if she agrees to it. It's good to do things like that, especially because it gives you something to remember them by later. I love our wedding video for the same reason, so will give it a go. Thanks xx
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