Dorothy Burchett head shot

Dorothy Burchett 

How soon we forget.

When I wake up in the morning, if I want to remember what I dreamed, I have less than five minutes. Then it floats away into oblivion.

You've probably heard that old saying, and you've probably said it yourself — "How do you expect me to remember? I can't even remember what I had for lunch yesterday."

A couple of days ago, when Sweetheart and I were out, two women came over to me and addressed me by name. One of them looked vaguely familiar. The other did not. They had to refresh my memory.

I hate it when that happens. The experience is both humbling and infuriating. Why should someone remember me and I not remember them? Am I more important than they are? I think not. Was the experience of being with them unpleasant? Not at all. My mind just chose to put that information in the back of the file. How infuriating!

The other day, I was trying to remember some names of people I had worked with a decade or two ago. Even though we had shared work space and experiences for nine years, I could only come up with a couple of names. I guess my mind just wanted to discard unneeded information.

I forget all kinds of things, like where I put things, appointments (or sometimes I double book), birthdays.

You have probably also heard that everything you know and learned is stored in your memory. All you have to do is reach in and find it. It appears that I am much better at storing information than retrieving it.

Recently, my brother was in the hospital, then in hospice, before he passed away. Sweetheart and I were fortunate to see him in the hospital just before he was transferred to the nursing home.

His eyes lit up when he saw me, because I was his baby sister. In the last few years we had gone to see him about once a month and I called him a couple of times a week.

On the other hand, his granddaughter, whom he and his wife had almost raised, and who called him every day, he did not recognize. She had taken care of his finances and run errands for him for years. Why did he not recognize her?

I suppose our minds and memories can play tricks on us as we age. It affects not only the person, but also their loved ones. It helps if we can focus on the good memories and not be upset about what we forget.

For my part, I have so many good memories with friends, good times, good food, good places to live, that I'm not going to let a lapse every now and then get me down. I hope others will understand.

(Dorothy Burchett is the author of the book “Miles and Miracles,” available on Amazon. Contact her at dorothybutzknight@gmail.com)

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