>If I’m ever a published writer, you can file this under my juvenilia.
“Alzheimer’s” (September 27, 2008)
The makers of Aricept claim they can prevent or reverse
memory loss. But why would I want to do that? I’m glad I can’t
remember the whorls and ridges of your fingertips meshing with mine like the teeth of a zipper or
recall the tickle of your voice in my ear like a bird ruffling its feathers as it goes to nest or
call up the flavor of your lips which I can still taste through the skin of my forehead like some sort of amphibian.
No, I won’t take peppermint oil or tie strings around my fingers or paper my wall with post-its because I
think I want to
forget. But how can I
forget what I cannot
I worry sometimes because for the last year or so my memory has been shifting under me like a wobbly stool. It’s incredibly frightening and makes me want to sign a euthanasia order if such things exist at the point when true dementia could strike me. I have forgotten conversations, misplaced countless objects, and most frighteningly, convinced myself that I had done something that I actually hadn’t. (It was a burst of meta-forgetfulness, as I thought I’d left something somewhere that I hadn’t.) In some ways, though, maybe the memory loss is a mercy, for it also blunts the baseline pain that has gotten decidedly more acute in the last 6 months or so. On the other hand, maybe it’s a response to trauma, and sooner or later it will come back, though hopefully not all at once. What I can’t figure out is whether I’d rather forget or remember.