Which would you rather lose?
Your sight or hearing?
A leg or an arm?
The ability to speak or the ability to walk?
….and so on. How many of us had played this game of “what if?”. It was something we discussed at work, during lunch times. Educated answers by educated people, with a lot of thought put into it.
My answer was always, none of the above.
The worst thing I could ever imagine happening to a person, is losing your memory.
Think about what you are and what you have become. Is that not a summation of all life’s experiences? All the big and little things that happened over the years, to shape how you think and the choices you made in life? Now imagine waking up one day with no memory.
Who are you? Where are you? Why are you in this particular place? From there it gets worse. Imagine people coming to see you ~ and you have no idea it is your spouse, your child, your sister. Or, looking through photo albums and seeing photos of yourself and having no feelings attached to it.
Normally it is through some violent act to the head that this happens. A car accident or something similar that causes trauma to the head. For some individuals the memory loss is small or temporary. For others though, whatever they have lost is gone. Forever. Other brain injuries consist of losing the present constantly but remembering the past. Or, you remember the present but not the past.
I bring this up today because I was reflecting on my life and thinking about that old adage again, what would you rather lose. Anything but my memory.
My memories are precious to me. I have so many that belong to me ~ just me and they are at my disposal to bring forth and cherish (or NOT!!) at my bidding. I remember both of my pregnancies and knowing my children before anyone else did. I knew my son hiccupped at the same time every day and loved listening to the music from the teddy bear I bought him as soon as I learned that my pregancy was viable and not tubal as was suspected. I knew my daughter made me get up at 4 am every morning, to eat Wheaties with sugar on one side. Nothing else would do. I knew she was happy in there and just didn’t want to make an appearance until she was good and ready.
I remember the moments as each one grew up into the wonderful person he and she is today. I remember the little bouncing curls, the little thumb in the mouth while they snuggled with their precious stuffies or blankie, wherever they were. I remember the shrieks of joy and throwing themselves into your arms by way of greeting when they were little.
I also remember the tough stuff. What made their hearts break and what made them cry. Or the times I failed them as a parent or as a supposedly responsible adult. I will honour the memories of now, later when they are adults and are making their own way through life.
I have memories of meeting my future husband and of the last 25 years together. Of how we were both in the military when we met. Those early years, living in an apartment with a couch that would dump you off if you weren`t careful…or his barrack box doubling as a t.v. stand. How about when the bed broke so we used bricks to hold up one corner? We didn’t have much money but we still had fun.
Imagine losing our time together in Germany! The travelling and the sites we saw! Imagine losing the memory of your child’s birth day…when you first met them (or, in the case of my daughter – me, being under the influence of morphine – being CONVINCED she wasn’t my child and someone had switched babies on me….).
I suppose if you lost your memory, you wouldn’t care about that stuff anymore. Or, maybe you’d learn to love these people all over again. The devestation to those around you, as they realize you don’t recognize them or remember them. How utterly and completely awful.
So, I would rather lose an arm or a leg. I’d rather lose my hearing or my eyesight. The mind can hear and see clearly with memories. The other arm or leg, or prothetics can compensate for loss of limb. Loss of speech? No problem – they are so many OTHER means of communications; I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t have a problem getting my message out!
But memories? Not them. Not the feelings associated with them, the sounds, the smells and the sights. Not that which is more precious that all the diamonds or gold in the world. More numerous than stars in the sky and which shine brighter than the sun of the most spectacular day.
Have you ever thought about what is most precious to you? (I don’t mean people here; obviously having your family and friends breathing and walking around is more precious than even memories!)