Memories – Running Minds


I spent some time with my grandma this weekend and have been haunted ever since by her fading memory.  She confused everything from mundane details about the day, our lives, and she even mistook my 14 year-old sister for me.  She kept asking her about her new job.  My sister had to remind her gently that she is only a freshman in high school and doesn’t work.

It’s weird how the mind works.  I’m not nearly as forgetful as my grandma, but I wish I could control my mind too.  I wouldn’t mind “forgetting” some unhealthy thinking.

I’ve been reminded of how unhealthy my thoughts are after my high wore off from my new job.  After a short stint on cloud nine, I immediately started thinking negative things like- what if I’m not good enough?  Maybe 7th graders will hate me, or maybe I won’t like them.  I can’t do this job.

My rational self knows this is all ridiculous, but I can’t seem to separate thoughts flying by from what I really believe.  And, I can’t seem to stop the thoughts from running rampant.

Then came Easter and all the negative- you’ll never have kids thoughts rushed through my head.  I even glamorized past relationships and convinced myself had I stayed I’d already have the kids I’m longing for.  The inner struggle ensued, and the holiday became a battlefield inside my head.  I caught myself staring at my parents and fantasizing about what great grandparents they’ll be and felt guilty I haven’t made this a reality for them.

I wondered what traditions we would do.  Would we hide eggs?  A basket?  Gifts?  How would I dress my fictional children?  Would we splurge for something new, or would I make something we had work?

Ugh- maybe it would be nice to forget.  I wish I could get a little situational Alzheimer’s.  If only we could all choose to have dementia over certain parts/moments of our lives, then maybe being forgetful wouldn’t be all that bad.

There are some memories I pray I always hold dear: the sound of my relatives voices; the way my grandpa hugged me; yard sale shopping with my Grandma Ginny; the taste of the meal I had at Eataly in New York; standing at the 9/11 Memorial; witnessing my best friend give birth; attending a World Series victory game; having a student tell me she loves reading because of me; and many more.

What would I want to forget?  I started to make this list, but I’m not sure I’d want to forget any of it- even the painful stuff.  My parents divorce, the constant long drives back and forth for weekend visits with my dad, my mom and Mike separating,  past relationships the loving and losing have all made me who I am.  By losing these memories, I might lose myself.  I’d lose who I’m becoming and who I want to be.  It’s in the remembering that we grow and keep moving forward.

I hate seeing my grandma lose herself and the grandma I know.  I wish I could offer us both a little relief.  I would quiet my running thoughts and help her mind from running away any further.



4 thoughts on “Memories – Running Minds

  1. Oh, oh, it is so hard to watch a person you love become a different person who doesn’t remember you. But truly love does overcome all things. Keep telling your grandmother how much you love her and her should will thank you.

  2. Jen, you need to send that inner critic of yours away. You will be great with the students because you have passion and they will learn from you. There is still time for kids, it will happen because you will make it happen. You will be so glad to remember the time you spent with your grandma. Hang in there!

  3. Oh so many thoughts that may be connected with the wonderful, caring, loving person who has them swirling through her brain. At times, I too want to “forget” but try to realize that it is in our memories that we do not repeat the mistakes of our past…. Watching a love one lose those memories is among life’s most painful experiences. It is as if those who hold the candle allow the flame to swallow up memories.

  4. Jen,
    Please know I’m thinking of you-it’s not easy right now. I think it makes us stronger when we go through difficult times. My mom is losing her memories now too! I spent time with her over the past week. It’s so hard to watch this happen. Lie others said, love and thank yous are most important now!

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