Sunday, 9 March 2008


The phone rings once, then stops. A couple of minutes pass and it rings, once, again. Mum's trying to call me.

I'm out of the bath by the time she gets it right. She tells me that everything is fine. She wants to know when I'm visiting next as it "has been a while" but then, when I protest, she claims to remember my visit last Sunday. She tells me that she'll have to go as she needs the toilet. I've worked out that this is her subconscious strategy to avoid facing that she's got anything wrong.

30 minutes later she's back on the line and sounds down in the dumps. I ask if the Screaming Lady is giving her a bad time. No, she says, but someone phoned her with some bad news. She can't remember who it was, but she names one of her relatives and says that the caller told her that he's very ill. Now, this relative died just after Christmas, and I know for a fact that Mum has been told the news 3 times since. I gently remind her and she claims to remember, and says she needs the toilet and that it's only because her life is so hectic nowadays that she made the mistake. Hectic?

As we end the call, I suddenly remember a conversation we once had when I was a teenager. Mum was talking about my childhood and the amazing places we lived while my Dad worked abroad.

"Whatever happens, Greg, no-one can take your memories away from you. You'll always have them."

Funny I should remember that now.


Sorata said...

Oh, you made me smile and sad at the same time... that was an odd feeling.

But see, your Mum's right though, that memory is still there. Even though she might have forgot about it, it's still in you. So in a way, it's carrying on with you.

Greg said...

Not my most focussed post. I knew it was about different kinds of memory and how Mum's kind of losing them all. All my posts are exactly how they happened, but it's how to tell the story that interests me. This one I just wrote straight with no editing. I'm glad it had an effect on you.

I've always remembered what my Mum said about memories and I've repeated it often. But it's NOT true - those memories CAN be stolen from you. I find that devastating, suddenly realising that something I've held true for so long is proved wrong.

Matt said...

But still, in a way, they can't be taken from you. Or rather, the effect of those memories can't. I hate the idea that I could someday forget some of the most important moments in my life, but I am a part of all that has happened to me. So who I have become is really a product of the things that currently are memories.

That wasn't written very well, but I hope it makes some sense.

Greg said...

Yes, Matt, I see your point. The memories burn off but the person those experiences have shaped remains. Mum's personality is still there, perhaps even augmented now that worries and hassle (and memories) have been taken out of the equation.