keeps track of everyone else's life, names, children and their ages etc.

by Carol
(Canada)

Mary, my mother, has alzheimers. She has just been diagnosed with it, but I'm sure she's had it for a couple of years, since she has been very forgetful. I have often wondered about her hobby of having her fridge plastered with the pictures of many people and their children and always thinking and keeping track of all of these people in a very superficial way, and whether that has contributed to her disease. I wondered about this even years ago before she got alzheimers. If I hadn't seen her in a while and then saw her she would greet me by telling me all about people that I didn't even know and the names and ages of their children. It seems strange to me to be so interested in something so irrevelent. She is also very religious and prays daily for all of these people by name. She has prayer lists. When she tells me about these people that I don't even know, I feel like saying, who cares Mom? It's not that I don't care about people, but I don't care about the names of people that don't know and their ages and their children. This is information that I don't need to clog up my mind with.

This is a kind of extroversion that I feel is unhealthy. It's like looking for your happiness by having a lot of information about other people. It's like feeling that you know people when all you really know about them is very superficial information, like names and ages and occupations.

What I am working on for myself is introversion, staying quiet, in my meditation making God my mother, my nurturer, my one support, catching myself when I start looking to human beings for acceptance, approval and appreciation and stopping myself. My mother doesn't understand even why I would want to do this. I see looking to human beings for support as attachment and I find it imprisoning.

My mother and father are a couple and she does have him to look after her. They are totally joined to one another, which is fortunate in a way because at least my mother has someone who cares a lot for her to look after her. I see from his eyes that he is struggling with it, but on the surface he is very patient.

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Dec 12, 2014
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Is Forgetfulness Embarrassing, Shameful or Unforgiveable?
by: Eloisa Ramos

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your story brought up for me how well my mother would hide her forgetfulness by not calling people by name, but by the relationship. For example, calling me "hija" or daughter.

I went to the Alzheimer's Conference this past June and they had a panel of speakers with Alzheimer's. They talked about how they felt having been diagnosed with it. One woman in particular had a lot of resentment and she was in denial for a long time, working very hard to keep others from discovering she could not remember simple things.

I'm wondering if your mother's determined effort to keep all these people with names and children in mind was her way of reassuring herself she was not forgetting and abating the emotional impact of acknowledging the loss of her memory?

I find that people with Alzheimer's are very good at finding ways to not feel what they have difficulty accepting and feeling. And of course memories are all tied together with emotions and feelings, so cutting off the memories would be another way to cut off feeling the emotions. That's just my theory, of course.

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