There’s More to Memory Than Meets the Mind


The side-effects of the drugs my mom was prescribed to keep her unstable mind somewhat stable led to her death.

The medical team at the memory care home where she lived, the people who were assigned to my mom’s case, decided her mind backfired far too frequently for the comfort of the people in charge of mom’s day-to-day care. This was due to dementia and other age-related, mind-altering conditions that plagued my mom according to them anyway. Mom’s condition left her caregivers continually frustrated by the amount of time and effort that was needed to satisfy her needs on a daily basis. Something had to be done. Drugs were the answer.

Aside from the fact that drugs were far, far from the answer and served only as the precursor to my mom’s passing, the most disastrous and painful realization for me is in the fact that the drugs stabilized her so much, she became part of the walking dead community of seniors that generously populates the halls of memory care facilities. These are the people you see and shake your head about. The ones you tear up about because there’s nothing you can do. The ones you turn away from because it’s too painful to watch.

My mom’s favorite word was “shit,” and she held every variation on the word in high esteem (example: dumb shit, oh shit, big shit, little shit, shitty, shitter, shit meister, shit sakes, etc., etc., etc.). She had an “Oh, Shit” rock in her backyard planter and was known for giving playful gifts to her sorority sisters and friends, like a plaque for the bathroom that read, “Have a shitty day!” C’mon, you gotta love it and her.

I never want to walk the halls of a ‘shitty’ old folks home,” she’d say. Unbeknownst to her and sadly for me and everyone who loved mom, her community, her peeps, her tribe at the “old folks home” fit her like a well-worn pair of jeans.

The thing that people covet the most in others is their cognitive skills, their memory accounts, not their bank accounts. Safe-keeping of the mind and memory is paramount to sustaining quality of life.

There’s way more to memory than meets the mind. Miguel de Unamuno explains what I mean with this brilliant quote:

Memory is the basis of individual personality, just as tradition is the basis of the collective personality of a people. We live in memory and by memory, and our spiritual life is at bottom simply the effort of our memory to persist, to transform itself into hope, the effort of our past to transform itself into our future.

I have a few memory quotes of my own to share with you today.  Less brilliant than Miguel’s but meaningful in their simplicity. I hope you like these word combinations as much as I do.

Memories fade but love is etched on our hearts forever. Dementia you lose.

The best memories leave a warm, rich, satisfying stain on your heart.

The ache of loss never outlives the good memories.

Some nights, you stay up late and pour your old memories onto a new page in your life. It makes the page kind of soggy, but it’s good to pour yourself out, so you can fill yourself up with better things.

I feel better now.

Hugs from the Heart,


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