Alzheimer’s

I Lost A Penny

Posted on August 30, 2012. Filed under: Alzheimer's, General Interest, Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Drat!  I know it was here.  I tossed all those coins on top of the dresser when I came in.  A penny.  Something different about it caught my eye.  Wanted to examine it a bit closer when I got home.  Was it the date?  The color?  Some surface damage?  Was it even a penny?  Can’t remember which.  Ah, check the pants’ pockets; maybe it’s still in there.  Nope!  But, there is a worn spot in the pocket fabric.  Crap!  A hole big enough for it to fall through — and, the two dimes that I got with it.  Checked around the dresser; nothing.  Back-tracked my trail through the house to the car in the driveway.  Nothing.  Oh, well.  Just another memory that slipped away.  There’ll be other pennies and dimes.

Just another memory that slipped away.  Later, my mind  played with that thought.  One memory lost; others to be gained.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

Years ago, in an “in-progress” manuscript (alluded to in a previous posting) I was considering the nature of SELF.  My conclusion, that the concept of “self” was the MIND’s answer to that persistent problem of MEMORY, should be no surprise to anyone.  We are what we remember we were.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

The concept of SELF is a sense of personal continuity.  But, how can there be a sense of continuity when there is only one moment in TIME of which we are ever aware, that little slice of EXISTENCE that we call NOW?  Where is continuity?

The sentient MIND is a creative organizer, and its answer to quantifying the clutter of “NOW piled on NOW” is…   YESTERDAY.  In that folder, all things past could be sequenced by event chronology, and, their impact on the NOW being experienced could be assessed.  Except that…   assaying creates another problem:  projections.  Having a continuous file of YESTERDAY to compare to NOW requires someplace to put the possible answers.  MIND then created a speculative file of projections labeled TOMORROW.

Yesterday.  Now.  Tomorrow.  The chain of continuity of “self.”  We don’t have to think about it; it’s all automatic.  In an instant, the MIND experiences, records, compares and projects events and their implications to our own fragile existences.  We accept it as a complete whole, a story with a beginning, middle, and an ending.  Yet, the only part of it that is real is NOW.  Everything else is fabricated

Life, whether real or fabricated, is the realm in which we exist, and MEMORY is the coin of that realm.  Our senses collect information, and short-term memory mints a shiny new coin to record the data, even installing hyperlinks to connect it to previously minted coins.  Then, it is carefully stored in a cyber-pocket wove on a warp of reality into a wondrous fabric — the biological neural net.  Through Life we stroll, listening to the jingle of those coins as they jostle about in our pockets, often reaching into the pocket, pulling out a coin, and considering it within its context as if it were NOW.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

Some of us reach into the pocket in search of a coin that we know just has to be there, but, we can’t put our fingers on it.  We can find coins we know were acquired with it, but, the one we want cannot be located…   and, it never will be found, because that wondrous neural net has a tear in it, one that will grow ever larger.  One by one, the coinage of SELF will trickle away, leaving neither the certainty that is YESTERDAY nor the hope that is TOMORROW.  What is left is one lonely, confused entity trapped in NOW with neither identity nor landmarks, and destitute of the coinage that will buy fare to…   somewhere…???

I have known only three persons in my life who suffered through Alzheimer’s:  my best friend’s mother, a sister-in-law’s mother, and my Aunt J.  By way of that last sentence, they remain just as anonymous to you as they became to themselves.  As circumstance and distance would have it, I was not privy to their suffering; yet, just knowing of their journeys into that twilight is disconcerting.  How awful it must be for those who are designated to escort loved ones from a full, complete existence into that shadow world of confusion, self-doubt, anger, and — eventually — personal oblivion.

What point, this article?  None, really.  Just an observation about the fragility of personal existence and how that existence is often defined by creative illusion…

…and the unspoken beauty of those whose existences have defined each of us.  And I think of my Aunt J.

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...