memory, my senior living, simple life

I Remembered Until I Forgot

I used to think how funny it was when I went to clean a home for an elderly person and see all the notes they had posted as reminders for them. “Lock the door”….”Take your pills”….Shut off alarm”…”Turn off stove”…etc. No matter who was my client, or what elderly person I might visit in any given day, they all had their notes.

I used to think there might be something unusual about them going on, but quickly realized it was more related to age. The mind, over time, like everything else in our bodies, can deteriorate and loose some of it’s faculties, if we all live long enough.

We are all different, that fact is certain. Things will and do happen to each of us, it it’s own time, in it’s own way and as the Designer wills it. Some of the most brilliant among us, or those not so brilliant, may remember the finest detail in their lives, as they enter a very old age. God only knows and understand fully His creation.

I understand why we write grocery lists, keep our contacts and their information in a file on our phones or a book or stored in our computer. Some of us write birth dates and anniversaries on the calendar. We keep records of our last doctor visits, store our important papers in our safe such as our mortgage title and insurance and car title. We keep photos, letters, manuals to operate our machinery. There is no possibility of ever remembering all this information, to recall any of it later.

A sticky note to remind me to lock the door or take my pills seems a bit silly. Isn’t this routine? Aren’t habits formed, something easy to remember? Tying a shoe is a habit too, but won’t that be scary if I should ever forget how to do that? I guess we have to accept things as they come. It is better sometimes to leave yourself a note. Do you want to forget to blow out a candle before you go to bed? Lock a door? Turn off the gas stove?

How many times have you pulled out of the driveway, only to return because you forgot to do something, or forgot your phone, glasses, lunch or the gift you needed to bring? I find myself stopping and looking around before I let a child of mine who came to visit with the grandchildren, leave. I am certain something was overlooked and don’t want them leaving without it. Sure enough…..”here is your little child’s toy, sippy cup, formula”….you name it!

I don’t leave the house so quickly anymore. I walk slower to my car. If my husbands helps carry my things out it confuses me sometimes. Now I don’t know what was remembered and if I forgot something. Sometimes his generosity is not helpful. I try to explain myself to him. We are understanding each other more and more but as I age I want to let him know what things about me are changing.

We are all so busy and the world has so many distractions that can catch our attention. It is easy to forget somethings. I think it does not really matter the age. It is just that when you get older, the things you need to remember are the things that make your life easier. (Glasses, pills, your cane, the alarm….locking doors to give you peace of mind, blowing out a flame so no fear of a fire…etc.)

I have three pairs of glasses. All are readers. One is better than the rest. It has a special coating on the lense to minimize eye strain sitting in front of the computer. It has prescription lenses. I keep them neatly inside an eyeglass case in front of my computer. You would think that would be enough, to remind me to use them. But, I don’t always remember. I can sit for hours using the ones that were already on my head when I sat down.

I decided it was time to add a note on the computer to help remind me. “Put your glasses on”. The note is working. Some things just need notes to help us remember. I hope it never comes to…”Brush your teeth”.

We have, both my husband and I, forgotten to turn the water off outside to the hose, left burners on…even though on low, forgotten to take our vitamins, forgot my eye drops, left doors unlocked, left windows open when it was raining, left the air conditioner on. I have left candles burning even though small candles and safely placed, but good about unplugging irons and toasters.

I see a hummingbird at my feeder. The nectar is very low. I forgot to fill it, but have a fresh batch of nectar in the refrigerator. Had the bird not come along….had I not been sitting here and taken notice of it….I may have forgotten to fill it.

Maybe, really what we all need to do, is just slow down and be more observant of the world around us. We would not need as many sticky notes perhaps….perhaps….but I’m uncertain.

I just hope I never forget…. to say “I love you” to someone in my life who needs to hear it from me. Especially the one I married!

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