Tag Archives: memory loss

Bearings

Bearings

“I’ve lost my bearings,” she said to me, perplexed. She was sitting alone in her room, surrounded by piles of clothing on the bed and floor around her—the collapsed small tents of abandoned full skirts, the shards of scarves and small mismatched clutterings of shoes.

She had been abandoned in a daydream world that only she lived in, but that she seemed as confused by as she was by those of us who tried to visit her there. For her, even changing clothes had become an insurmountable obstacle—a challenge that rivaled childbirth, an unfaithful husband, an addicted son, an autistic grandson. It rivaled the war she’d staged against her much-younger sister—the power she held over that sister by her rejection of her. It rivaled her efforts to enter the world again as a single woman and to try to win the world over to the fact that it was all his fault. It rivaled her insistence that it was the world that was confused in refusing to go along with all her beliefs and justifications.

She had barely if ever left a word unspoken when it came to an argument. It was so simple, really. She was always right. That everyone in the world, and more particularly her younger sister, refused to believe this was a thorn in her side. The skin on her cheek itched with the irritation over the unfairness of the world. She had worn a path in it, carving out a small trench so that the skin even now was scaly with that road traversed over and over again by one chewed-off fingernail. “Are you she?” She asked me, and when I admitted I was, she added, “Oh, you were always so irritating. Even as a little girl. Why could you never be what anyone else wanted you to be? You were always so, so—yourself!”

It was my chance, finally, for an honest conversation with this sister 11 years older—more a crabby mother always, than a sister. A chance if she could keep on track long enough to remember both who I am and who we both once were.

“So what was wrong with how I was, Betty? With how I am?”

“Oh, you were always so . . . . “ She stopped here, as though struggling for a word or for a memory. I saw her eyes stray to the floor between the door and the dresser. “There’s that little fuzzy thing there,” she said. I could see her eyes chart the progress of this creature invisible to me across the room.

I hung on to the thought she had so recently abandoned. “But me, Betty. What do you find wrong with me?”

Her eyes came back to me and connected, suddenly, with a sort of snap that made me think we were back in the same world again as she contemplated by last question. I tried to keep judgment out of my own gaze—to keep her here with me for long enough to connect on at least this one question.

“You were,” she said, and it was with that dismissive disgusted tone she had so often used with me since I was a very small child. “You were just so mystical!”

I was confused, not sure that the word she had used was the one she meant to use.

“What do you mean by mystical, Betty?” I sat on the bed beside her and reached out for the static wisps of hair that formed a cowlick at the back of her head—evidence of the long naps which had once again taken over her life, after a long interim period of raising kids, running charities and church prayer circles, and patrolling second-hand-stores, traveling to PEO conventions and staying on the good side of a number of eccentric grandchildren.

“Oh, you know. All those mystical experiences! The E.S.P. and all those other stories you told my kids. And Mother. Even Mother believed you.”

Then a haze like a layer of smoke once more seemed to pass over her eyes, dulling her connection to this time and reality and to me.

Her chin trembled and a tear ran down her cheek. She ran one fingernail-chewed index finger over and over the dome of her thumb and her face broke into the crumpled ruin of a child’s face who has just had its heart broken, the entire world of sadness expressed in this one face. I put my arms around her, and for the first time in our lives, she did not pull away. We rocked in comfort to each other, both of us mourning something different, I think. Me mourning a sister who now would never be mine in the way that sisters are meant to be. Her mourning a self that she had not been able to find for a very long time.

“Oh, the names I have been called in my life,” I was thinking.

“Oh, the moon shadows on the table in the corner. What do they mean?” She was thinking.

The last time I gave my sister a fortune cookie, she went to the bathroom and washed it off under the faucet, chuckling as though it was the most clever thing in the world to do. She then hung it on a spare nail on the wall.

When I asked her if she needed to go to the bathroom, she nodded yes, and moved in the direction of the kitchen. Then she looked at the news scroll on the television and asked if those were directions for her. If there was something she was supposed to be doing. And that picture on the wall. What was it telling her she was supposed to do?

In the end, I rubbed her head until she fell asleep, covered her and stole away. I’d fly away the next morning, leaving her to her new world as she had left me to mine from the very beginning.

Prompt words today are hang on, contemplate, daydream, bearing and surround.

Memory Games

Memory Games

My memory’s in jeopardy of growing rather fuzzy.
I can’t remember punch lines like “He wasn’t fuzzy, wuzzy?”
Quips like “Betty Botter bought a bit of bitter butter”
used to fly right off my tongue, but now they sit and flutter.

It’s true my thoughts surround me but they won’t assume an order.

It is as though instead I have become a memory hoarder
with stacks of memories piled up in my halls of memory
where perhaps I could still find them—if I had the energy.

But as is, names aren’t stacked near where my face recall is kept,
so when I meet acquaintances, I’m chillingly inept
at sorting out the names to go with their familiar faces.
This trying to put face with name sure puts me through my paces!

Somehow the very minute I recognize a face,
its name flies out the window, so I hasten up my pace

to scurry ’round the corner before they might see me.
It’s not my heart avoiding them. Just blame my memory!

The only reassurance in all this memory Hell
is that lately I have noticed others scrambling as well,
so perhaps it isn’t only me who’s exercising guile
trying to avoid my friends in the grocery aisle.

Prompts today were memory, jeopardy, surround and fuzzy. Links below:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/05/24/rdp-friday-memory/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/05/24/fowc-with-fandango-jeopardy/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/05/24/your-daily-word-prompt-surround-may-24-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/05/24/fuzzy/

Vagaries

IMG_6008

Vagaries

My mind is turning derelict. It often wanders on.
While I am still in need of it, I discover that it’s gone.
My thought processes aren’t uniform. They come and go at random.
Will and concentration no longer come in tandem.
It never ceases fascinating me that what was once
a certified ace student has turned into a dunce.
I know it is the fault of age and yet I often ponder
about this vagary of mind that sends it over yonder
when I have need of it at home. I find it most distressing
when common words are wanted, that my mind now leaves me guessing.


The prompt words today were fault, uniform, fascinate and derelict.Here are links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/rdp-tuesday-fault/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/02/26/fowc-with-fandango-uniform/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/your-daily-word-prompt-Fascinate-february-26-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/derelict/

Without Flair

 

IMG_1771

Searching through the rubble of my bedroom desk drawer, I find the estranged top to my last remaining Flair pen. I’ve been looking for it for weeks, sealing up that last precious pen in Saran Wrap and a Ziplock bag, lest it dry out. They don’t seem to import Flair pens to Mexico and the last time I looked for them in the states, I could only find lurid colors of orange and purple and green.  No black.

My first attempts to scribble poetry with a mere rolling writer were not successful.  That attempt was without precedent.  I’ve been scribbling with Flair pens for as long as I can remember. Their little felt nibs flow so effortlessly over the surface of the paper. The track they leave is wide enough to make a writer feel important and acknowledged. In the world of writing aids—pen, paper, notebooks, staplers, dictionaries—Flair pens are the perfect neighbors. They do not make a noise or leave an impression on the page under them. 

Now I move to restore this much-looked-for cap to its spouse, only to find someone has moved the ziplock back containing the pen.  With no one else to blame but the cats or Yolanda, my three-times-a-week housekeeper, I mine my mind for memories of where I might have moved it. Sigh. Place the top in the place formerly designated for its companion. The search continues.

 

This piece was written making use of these three prompts: If you are in need of a prompt, click on any URL for how to submit your work.:

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/06/25/ragtag-prompt-25-precedent/https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/06/25/rubble/  Link 
https://fivedotoh.com/2018/06/25/fowc-with-fandango-estranged/

Mnemonic Phonics

 

 

 

Mnemonic Phonics

Babies use clues amniotic
to deal with stimuli chaotic,
but later, memory gets thick.
In short,  it’s anything but quick.

Age slows us down and trims our wick,
fogs our recall,  slows our pick.
So I resort to many a trick
to give my mind a little kick.

This loss of memory’s demonic
and leads to fits most histrionic,
so I depend on clues mnemonic
for memory that’s supersonic:

(Can you guess what the below mnemonic devices help me to remember?)

Neither leisured foreigner
seized or forfeited the weird heights.

Every good boy does fine.
Good boys do fine always.

My very excellent mother just spewed up nine plums.

How about you?  What mnemonic devices do you use?

 

The prompt word is mnemonic.

Memory Games

 

Memory Games

The only thing that makes my present memory lapses at all bearable is that all of my friends seem to be having the same problems. I lose my keys, find them and before I make it out the door, lose them again.  When I drive into town, I usually forget at least twice where I am going and end up repeating again and again, “Bank to get money. Bank to get money,” or “Pick up Glenda.” The other day, however, I reached a new low.

I was about to Skype a friend to tell him where I was going and why I wouldn’t be home for the rest of the afternoon. I was going to the awards luncheon for a local news magazine. I’ve been reading this publication monthly for 16 years and submitting work to it for nearly this long. Long story short, I am very very well acquainted with its name, but suddenly, I could not for the life of me remember what it was.  I shook my head, trying to shuffle and refile my memory, but nothing popped into mental view until suddenly, the word “ajo” popped up. Ajo what? “Ajo del Agua.” It sounded sort of right but something seemed wrong. Ajo?  Garlic? Agua? Water? Why would a paper be named garlic water? Yet it seemed so right.  Ajo. Ajo. It was driving me crazy.  Oh, wait, I was already crazy.

It was disturbing me greatly and then, suddenly “Ojo del Lago” slipped into the right slot in my brain.  Yes.  “Eye of the Lake” sounded much more appropriate than “Garlic Water.”  Oy Vey.  That phrase is starting to feel ever more appropriate to express the events of my life lately.

El Ojo del Lago is a cool monthly publication also available for free online. Here is the link:

 http://chapala.com/elojo/

If you have a story or poem you think might be appropriate, they are always looking for submissions.

My Imaginary Friend

My Imaginary Friend

I have never had an imaginary friend until four years ago, when one suddenly appeared.  She has a special function in my life: memory.  When I’m driving to town and suddenly forget exactly where it is I’m going, I prod her and within a few seconds, she has the answer for me.  She never tires of these prods–even when I ask her the same question twice within the space of an hour or two.  Sometimes she even leaves me notes on the refrigerator.  “Catfood,” she scribbles, “Lampshade.” “Hem pants!”

As is necessary with good friends, I forgive her her shortcomings as she forgives mine.  When it took her an entire week to come up with the name of a woman whose name I keep confusing with another, I did not chide her.  When I forgot the name of one flower for an entire year, I ceased even asking her to provide an answer and in its own sweet time, memory brought the name to me with no prodding.

As with all imaginary friends, I do not call attention to her in public. We have our conversations in private, usually as I rail against myself, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” when the correct information will not come with the ease that it did before this particular decade.

It is she who decided I needed a wall hanger for glasses and keys and after fruitless minutes of my daily searches, reminds me that my car keys and reading glasses are where they’re supposed to be–on the rack!  She has been doing this for years, without complaint, and one of my main fears in life is that she will pass on before I do.

We have a pact, my imaginary friend and I, and if it is up to her and me, we will die peacefully, side by side, forty years from now when we are 110. By then she will be so worn out that she will deserve a rest, and by then I will probably be all too willing to go with her.

 

The prompt today wasimaginary.”  This is a reblog of a piece I wrote a few years ago.