We’ve all forgotten where we put our car or house keys.
Who hasn’t walked into a room and forgotten why?
Been speaking when the word you want goes missing, you know it’s there, you grope around in your mind, finding other words that might work in it’s place, but the word you wanted is gone.
I’m forever putting things ‘where I know they’ll be’ then fairies spirit them away, only to be found later in a totally illogical spot. Those fairies.
Forgetting is normal. Our minds are full. Overfull. We’re stressed or tired.
What if it isn’t just that? What if forgetting is a symptom?
I made the mistake/best choice to watch Still Alice, based on the stunning novel by Lisa Genova about a 50-year-old Linguistics professor who learns she has early onset Alzheimer’s. I hadn’t been quite prepared for the visceral punch of watching a woman close to my age lose her mind and herself.
How can your thoughts, memories, love, dreams, the essence of who you are all be ripped from you, not by some invading army, some natural disaster, but by your own brain?
How could we lose: Our Dad’s laugh. Mom’s wisdom. Joking with siblings. Husbands. Wives. Friends. The smell of our children as babies. The feel of loved ones in our arms. Our first date, first kiss, first job. Or our best date, best kiss, best job? I can’t even begin to imagine staring at pictures of family and friends and not knowing who they are.
Our knowledge and memories so greedily gathered over the years, erased as though they never happened.
Losing who we are, even before we’re gone.
In the movie, Alice (played the exquisitely talented Julianne Moore) quotes Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, One Art, sad and famous words, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.”
As a person with Fibromyalgia I’ve long appreciated and hated those words. For those who live with illness every day the art of losing isn’t hard to master, it becomes more of a science. You learn to manage, modify, accommodate, cope, compromise, let things go, adjust, re-adjust and always adjust your expectations – there’s a trick to life, except you’re not always sure it isn’t being played on you.
At times we all want to forget. Forget pain. Forget sorrow. Forget humiliation. Forget betrayal. Forget loss. The seductive lure of forgetting makes us forget that remembering is a gift, one that should never be wished away.
I won’t recommend this film. Not because it wasn’t wonderful, it was.
I won’t urge you to watch this film. Instead watch the news, so full of ISIS, FIFA, elections that are months or even years away, what celebrities are wearing, eating, doing, it’s all sooooo important, we really should be paying close attention.
Don’t worry about Alzheimer’s, cancer, MS, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, asthma, and all the other illness that take our loved ones.
Don’t watch this movie, there wasn’t any sex, violence, special effects, car chases, CGI, superheroes. It’s only about change, dignity, character, and highlights that things we too often think matter, you know, little things, petty things, stupid things, don’t matter at all.