Five Minute Friday: On Forgetting

Oh, how I love these 5-minute Friday prompts.  Kudos and deep thanks to Lisa-Jo for faithfully opening her blog to all of us who love to chime in.  It’s five minutes of unedited writing – “just write without worrying about whether or not it’s just right.”  This week’s topic is another doozy:  On Forgetting
I’m downright curious to see where I go with this one.


Forgetting is such a bittersweet word for me just now.  Sweet because it conjures up the wonderful truth that Grace forgets my sins as well as forgives them.  Sweet because I love thinking back over my life and noting the things that jump to the front for attention, remembering love and laughter.  Sweet because I enjoy creating unforgettable moments with those I love – celebrations, conversations, travel.  Sweet because memory can be such a boost for the spirits – when those memories are easily accessible and primarily positive.

But bitter because I’m watching, in a terribly up-close and personal way, how memory can desert you as you age.  How frightening it can be to not be able to bring forth a word, or a name, or an event, or a conversation – that just happened a few moments or days or weeks ago.  Two women whom I love deeply are experiencing this kind of forgetting.  One of them is aware of the loss; one is not.  And I’ve gotta say – I think I’d rather be in the second category.  It’s tough to see yourself slipping ever-so-slowly away and feel pretty powerless to do anything about it.  

But then again, maybe that’s why I’m here.  To help my mom remember.  To tell the stories, at least the more recent ones, enough times so that they move over into her long-term memory, the part that still seems to work amazingly well.

For my mother-in-law, there is also space for story-telling but it feels different somehow.  Because she doesn’t know she’s forgotten them, it doesn’t trouble her as much.  It’s hard to hold onto the truth of who these women truly are, but I’m doing my best not to forget.


           My mother-in-law Kathryn                                   and                         my mom, Ruth

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  1. Oh Diana, I am so sorry for this loss. I have not experienced it first-hand with a loved one. My grandmother, in the years before she died, suffered from severe dementia, but she was so old and in such ill health by that point, that it wasn’t as tragic as memory loss sometimes can be. I will pray for you and your loved ones.

    And Diana, thank you for your lovely, lovely comment on my post today. You know, it’s funny…you just never know how a post will hit someone. I wrote that one so fast, and uploaded the pictures on a whim, because frankly I was too lazy to write a full out post last night! And you seem so touched by it — I am so glad.

    Have you read Ann Voskamp’s book? It really did change my perspective on the gratitude list. I only started after I read her book, because I realized that while I was “grateful,” I was sort of grateful in a general way. I like how the list-making keeps me focused on the specific.

  2. My parents live states away so I don’t get all the details in their lives, but I often get the same story told 3 or 4 times in a month! Memory is a precious piece of who we are and I have been pastor to those who are losing theirs. Painful it can be. I take stock in the notice that all is restored in heaven. Blessings and rememberings to you!

  3. Diana, I’m sorry that your moms are going through this time and will pray for you, as well. I know it can be just as hard on the family watching their loved-ones suffer as it is for the one suffering from the memory loss.

    My grandmother had dementia, and we didn’t realize it right away. She lived with my parents near the end of her life, and I now how hard that time was for my parents, as well, for many reasons.

    I will say a prayer for you and your family.

  4. I’ve been where you are. It’s sad, but hold onto the good moments with both of them. You’ll be in my prayers.

  5. I didn’t do this prompt this week. Yet. Maybe today. Maybe not.

    My husband’s father struggled with this. I think the doctors told my husband that he had so many memories in his head, it wasn’t surprising that he’d forget some. Maybe the older ones stay with us longer because we “relive” them more often. Thus the importance of telling the stories when we sit down and when we rise up.

    At any rate, my brain lets a lot of things slip away, too–both short-term and long-term. So frustrating.

    Hugs to you.

  6. Your post is beautiful Diana, and I adore the photograph, I would like to go there right now, and just be.

    These two ladies are blessed to have you in their lives, walking with them on what is a rocky, and difficult path. I pray God will hold you close, and pour his grace and strength into you; and hold you tight as you walk this road.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  7. Hallo Diana. I have just discovered you thru five minute Friday. I’m in New Zealand, at the same stage of life as you, with an elderly mother with whom I must exercise grace and mercy, constantly! Like you, I often wonder how I will be at their age, and hope that if we are kind and patient with them, someone will be to us. I look forward to reading more from you- I am loving the quality friendships made in blogosphere round the world, knowing I will meet you all in heaven, one day!God Bless you with continuing patience and grace with your elderly.