My dad turns 80 next month and my sister is coming into town to be here for his birthday. One of my brothers shares his birthday. So when my dad asks if one of us kids shares his birthday, I’m really surprised. My brother is in his 50s so this is a long-term and much repeated memory.
My mom immediately tells him “no” but does remember that one of us did have a birthday on the 13th of April (my sister’s). I threw caution to the wind and shared that yes, one of us did share his birthday. “I knew it!” my dad exclaimed.
Has my dad been in the fog for so long that he just stopped being confident in his thoughts? Will the fact that both parents have failing memories make their decline faster? Puzzled.
4 thoughts on “Doesn’t one of you share my birthday?”
When I used to question my mom she would say “I remember the things I want to”. As frustrating as this was to me, I eventually learned to accept this to mean that she was content to float in her own ether like it was some kind of deprivation tank in which she was able to achieve a state of peace. If an event (like a birthday) or a memory managed to circled back around she was able to see it again as if for the first time with a childlike sense of discovery, amazement and joy.
In retrospective, I now believe this liberation came to her only after a great many years of her completely exhausting herself from the the struggle to hold on to every single detail as well as from her relentless efforts to conceal her secret, especially from me.
Thank you! That is great perspective — something I do not have from the middle of it right now — but working on it every day.
Sometimes I take my father to see a movie when I visit. His short term memory is so bad that he will ask, 10-times in a row in a 10 minute period, “What are we doing?; Where are we going?; When are we leaving?” over and over. He still likes to read books, the news paper, and magazines. I wonder now if he reads out of habit since he can’t form any new memories meaning he is retaining nothing. I also wonder if he just doesn’t care to remember, or share information when asked. He always quickly responds with “I don’t know” whenever asked a question. A recent psych/neuro evaluation showed definite trouble with his ability to retain new info.
Now we know it is real, but have to also deal with his attitude of “I really don’t care anymore,” so he has no motivation to want to try and do better, address the problem, or try and change, nor can he remember he has an issue. It is a terrible downward cycle inching toward complete oblivion.
My father’s behavior and memory decline scares me and makes me wonder what I will care about at 80, as I see my attitude toward many things changing (in a more cynical bend), in my early 50s. I also can tell I struggle a bit more with memory now than I did in my 40s, or perhaps I am just paranoid and over thinking it. Not really sure.
Thanks for sharing. I think we all struggle with the loss as well as with the realization that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” The medical community has made recommendations on things you can do to fight back the effects of aging on the brain, but we still have to individually prepare now to ensure we don’t follow in their footsteps. Still working on that!