Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Non-Persistance of Memory

They got out of the vehicle and walked into the chapel.  "They" being Prince Phillip, 96, and Queen Elizabeth II, his wife, 92.

They weren't assisted. They walked without canes or walkers. They had their memories, and fully participated in the events of today.

We had a wonderful time watching the royal wedding this morning, even waking up early to see it.

Later in the day, we visited my mother in law, 90, along with two relatives visiting from out of town.  My mother in law is in rehab after three hospitalizations since the beginning of April. 

She can't get out of bed by herself.  She needs assistance for many of what are called, in the United States, the "Activities of Daily Living" (dressing, continence, feeding, transferring, bathing).

Mother's Day, last Sunday, was good for her.  She had shrimp Newburg for lunch, courtesy of the rehab place, and then an Ultimate Chocolate Cake we bought for her.  She wore a wrist corsage.   Her grandson was there.  All three of her sons were there.  Her two daughter in laws were there.

Today, she didn't remember any of it.

Tomorrow she may not remember the out of town company that spent several hours with us, or the other relatives she FaceTimed with on their iPad.

Watching Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth II made me wonder:  is it just us?

Does dementia exist in other countries?  Are people this infirm?  Is it a function of our environment?  Our relative inactivity?  Has "modern medicine" failed us?

But my mother in law was never inactive. 

At one time she was so sharp we joked that she was sharper than either of us.

The other day she sat in the sun and asked two of her sons if it was sunny.

Yesterday, she couldn't remember where her autistic son lived. 

She steers conversations to the past, talking about her honeymoon (in 1950) as if it was yesterday.

And it's only the beginning.

One day, we know, she won't recognize us.  Already, she has forgotten that I work, and wondered (one day when I visited her on my lunchtime) where I had gone.

Without memory, do we even exist anymore?


  1. I too was amazed this morning! The Prince had recently had his hip replaced. I have neighbors in their 70's and 80's who cannot even stand up straight. If I lose my memory and my ability to function I do not want to be here.

  2. My grandmother was 96 when she died, had suffered from dementia since she was in her late 80’s. Her sister Shirley flew up from Maryland to New York for the funeral. Shirley was 94 at the time, and still sharp as a tack. It was like seeing my grandmother again before the dementia, the two sisters were that alike. She lived to age 99, and never fell victim to dementia,

    So you never know.

  3. It is sad! I don't think it is just here though. But being royal has privileges and some of them may add to health and longevity.

  4. Such a good question. My dad passed at age 76 from complications due to Alzheimer's, yet, his aunt lived until age 99, sharp as a tack. Makes one truly wonder.

  5. My mom is 82 and we just put her in a nursing home. It's amazing where she was and where she is now. It's a heartbreaking disease.


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