Posts Tagged ‘memory’

Memory Orbs

I keep coming back to this idea ever since I saw the animated movie Inside Out last August. It’s a really, really good movie for the kiddos and I enjoyed it, too. It talks about memories and emotions and what to do with the emotions that make you act unlike yourself.

One of the neat visuals for me in the movie was the first time we see memory orbs. They are in a big room and there are all these little balls of varying color on a type of conveyor belt moving through and being cycled back around. We are told that they are memory orbs. Each one holds a memory from our past that we can recall at any time. The different colors are for different emotions associated with the specific memory. When we are feeling down, we can recall a happy memory to lift us up a bit and remind us that not all is bad or negative.

I kind of feel this would be great for blogging. So I think over the next few weeks I will be posting my own memory orbs. They’ll be little, tiny pieces of my past…59 years worth. I often get flashes of memory even from as long ago as when I was only one year old. And they are just that…a flash.

So, watch for those memory orbs and in the meantime, if you get a few free minutes, give a visit to some of the blogs on NanoPoblano which I haven’t been able to visit often. Here are a couple:



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As I talk to my mother since my father’s death in mid May, I get a bigger picture of what he was like in the last months before he died. He had Alzheimer’s. I don’t know all that much about the disease, other than what I have seen portrayed in movies and on TV and in novels so some of the things she has told me are surprising to me.

He forgot so many things, but at the end of visits, he would ask when his sons were going to come visit him. he would ask for them by name: Carlos, Richard, and David. All three of his sons preceded him in death, but he forgot. What is interesting to me is that he remembered that he had sons even when he forgot everything else.

He forgot who my mother was. As they sat and talked about their children and their pasts, my father found it funny that they both had 7 children, 3 sons and 4 daughters, and that his kids’ names were the same as her kids’ names. She would try to explain to him that the reason was that his children were also her children but he didn’t get it. He found it funny that they had lived in the same cities and on the same streets and never met!

In the end, he forgot how to speak English. He spoke only Spanish.

And the one thing he never forgot was the name of his children. He remembered all of our names: Carlos, Richard, David, Sylvia, Corina, Irene, and Gilda. Even in the last couple of weeks, when he could barely speak, he was asking for each of us by name and wanting to see us.

In the end, his mind was clear. His memory was back. He knew who my mom was. He knew who my sisters were. And he knew that I could not come to see him because of my illness. I’m glad he knew that much. I would hate it if he had died thinking that I did not want to see him. It’s bad enough that I could not be there. At least he knew and understood that I could not be there.

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Leaving Time

I recently read a novel by Jodi Picoult, her most recent novel in fact.  She always makes her readers think.  This one was no different.  It deals with a character on an elephant reserve.  We learn about memory, not just elephant memory but human memory as well.  And we learn about elephant grief and elephant mothering.  It’s really a fascinating bit of research in this novel.  If you are at all interested in memory and grief, you should pick it up.

As usualy, the ending was a surprise.  Didn’t see that coming.

In any case, here are some quotes from the novel:

“A bruise is how a body remembers it has been wronged.”

“When someone leaves you once, you expect it to happen again.  Eventually you stop getting close enough to people to let them become important to you because then you don’t notice when they drop out of your world.”

“No matter how much we try, no matter how much we want it…some stories just don’t have a happy ending.”

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“Since his stroke he’s been living in the present.  He has no past and no future.  He lives in a present that lasts six minutes, and every six minutes the meter of his memory resets itself to zero.  Every six minutes he asks me my name.  Every six minutes he asks what day it is.  Every six minutes he asks if Maman is coming to see him.” –from The List Of My Desires by Grégoire Delacourt

I often think about getting so old that I have no memory.  If I have no memory, I will cease to exist because we are our memories.  And honestly speaking, who would want to go on living past the point where their memory was gone?

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I used to have a really good memory. My ex-husband used to call me Memorex (for those of you too young to know, this was a reference to a Memorex audio cassette tape commercial). I used to have almost total recall.

Then I had kids. And my memory went downhill from there. The only thing I can attribute it to is that once I had kids, there were more important things to occupy my mind.

I still remember really trivial things that I knew before kids (bk) but things I should remember never stuck in my mind after kids (ak).

For example, today is January 16 and it is the birthday of my sixth grade teacher, Rick Cassinelli. Now I was in sixth grade in 1968 so I really have no reason to remember Mr. Cassinelli’s birthday but I do. The phone number when I was a child was 292-9061. That hasn’t been the home number since 1966 but I still remember it. However, I don’t remember the number I had for four years in the early part of this decade. My best friend from 2nd to 4th grade was Lydia and her address was 1244 N. 14th Street. I have no idea what my friend Paula’s address is in Canyon Country and I’ve been there quite a few times in the past five years. There are countless other things that I remember when I should not and many more that I don’t remember when I should.

Of course part of this is aging but part of it is not. I was only 26 when my son was born and my memory started to go downhill so I know that aging was not responsible for it.

I don’t know if this is a valid theory or not but I’m sticking to it.

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