I spent an evening at Joseph’s House last evening. I occasionally visit for the Friday evening meal, which is open to guests. Last night as we ate, I was seated close to two Ethiopian refugees who’d come to the house in the past few months. One I had talked to several times in the past months, but I could remember almost nothing of our conversations, even his name. As he described a talk we'd had a year or two ago about the possibility of living with us, I could only vaguely remember it. Clearly I’d been a somewhat important person to him … and I could remember little of it.
It’s really embarrassing. These several times we’d met, I’d been surprised by his instant welcome and warmth toward me. After the first time or two, I knew each time that I had met him but not the contexts. It wasn’t appropriate in that situation to tell him about my Alzheimer’s, but I worried that he’d felt slighted when I didn’t recognize him for the fourth or fifth time.
The same thing happened with the other Ethiopian, a women that I can now vaguely remember meeting and talking with at our church’s Thanksgiving dinner. She too was friendlier than a stranger would be, and as we shook hands, she recognized that I didn’t remember her and mentioned it. I apologized, but again I felt really embarrassed.
This is just the beginning of many such meetings. A part of me wishes the disease would progress faster so that my condition would be more obvious and I less embarrassed. (Well, ok, it’s a really, really small part of me that wishes for a faster progression.)
My memory is increasingly being shredded; there large holes through which more and more is falling. My symptoms are becoming more noticeable, and I’m glad that I will be sharing with my entire community at Eighth Day tomorrow and beginning to publish all these blog entries as a memoir in a week or two.
David - A friend referred me to your blog this morning, and I plan to read every post. What you have done is courageous and inspiring - and I particularly appreciate your writing because my father, who is near your age, also has Alzheimer's. Maybe your blog will help me better understand what he is going through. I wish you all the best and will check back here often.ReplyDelete
The primary purpose of my writing is to help all of us understand what people with Alzheimer's and their caregivers are going through.Delete
Thanks for your comment.