Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Geography of Memory by Jeanne Murray Walker


I start with the usual, the question that opens up her world.

“Tell me a little about what brings you here. Tell me your story.”
Her family stands against the wall behind her—two middle-aged daughters and her rail-thin husband. They stare down at the floor, tired bodies sagging. She looks around, as if the answer to my question is written on the walls. The illness that ravaged her brain has left her confused and with aphasia—a language disorder that fights against the flow of words.
She cannot remember her current age, or the names of her grandchildren; and when I ask if she understands why she is in the hospital, tears well in her eyes.
 “I don’t know,” she says, haltingly. “Why don’t I know?”

Over at The High Calling, we've started a new book discussion on Jeanne Murray Walker's The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage through Alzheimer's. Will you join us for the rest of this post over there?
Image by Marty Hadding. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.

1 comment:

Sharon O said...

Reminding me so much of my own mother, with parkinson's and dementia. Her frail skinny hands and her silver white hair framing the scared look on her face. It is a horrible thing to lose a mind. A person who once was. Sometimes she will remember the strangest details and surprise us all. Most times she is not 'here' anymore.