Mary ~ She No Longer Remembers Names

United States
March 19, 2008 6:27pm CST
It had been a while since I had seen Mary out in public. She was often seen riding her yellow moped, or her PT Cruiser around the streets of town. In the years that I had know her she was happy, always had a beautiful smile and her eyes sparkled brightly and always had a kind word to say. Yesterday when I was shopping for one of my clients, I happened to run into Mary. I was so happy to see her. I walked up to her and called her name as I touched her arm affectionately with my hand. She smiled back at me, but I noticed that it wasn't the same vibrant smile and the sparkle in her eye was somewhat dimmer than when I last had seen her. Mary said that she loved people so much. With a smile on her face she went on to say that she doesn't remember who the people are who greet her. Her son stepped forward and confirmed what she had said. She was smiling and telling me how her son had moved in with her to take care of her. She said that she was given the choice of moving with him or him moving in with her. She chose to have him move with her. I tried to jog Mary's memory by telling her that we once worked together. I called her to be a substitute teacher on many occasions and she worked in the same school as I did. She smiled and held my face in her right hand and said that I had such a cute face. But, she still didn't recall who I was. At the end of our conversation, I hugged her tightly and told her how good it was to see her again. She smiled and thanked me for talking with her. As we departed ways, I realized that the Mary I once knew was fading away. The fire that once showed in her bright eyes and smile was slowly flickering out. Mary, no longer remembers people, but she will always love them.
8 people like this
18 responses
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
19 Mar 08
This story is so sad, but also inspiring in a way. To think that even if she doesn't remember, she wants people to talk to her, and loves them still. I know a lot of people who, once they start being unable to remember people, would rather be left alone and shut themselves in their homes to avoid these kinds of encounters. Mary must be an extraordinary woman!
4 people like this
@stephcjh (32328)
• United States
19 Mar 08
That is terrible. I'm very sorry to hear that. I guess she must have a touch of Alheimers? It is awful to see bad things like that happen to good people. It is amazing that she still has the love for people though. she has not forgot to do that.
4 people like this
• United States
19 Mar 08
This is sad but all to true. I worked in a nursing home and I have gone back to visit since I quit working there and some of the elderly people that I would sit and talk to don't know who I am. They still smile at me and we do hold conversations but it somehow isn't the same. Because the one thing I have noticed as you say about Mary is the sparkle has left their eyes. It is a sad thing to see.
3 people like this
@Hatley (164652)
• Garden Grove, California
19 Mar 08
bless you sunshinelady you do really care for the people you care for. It would be so hard for me to work there as its so sad to see people losing their sparkle. I have worked in nursing homes and it always amazed me at how much they appreciated anything you did for them. When that sparkle leaves their eyes its as though their meness is leaving too.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Mar 08
That was a very sad story but unfortunately that is one of many things that happen as one gets older. I was very glad to see you did not say she was unhappy and seems to know what is going one in her life even although she can't remember everything.
2 people like this
@Hatley (164652)
• Garden Grove, California
19 Mar 08
This story makes me all the more grateful that though I am eighty one I can still think and use my brains and love my family and my friends even though I have a bad left leg and a almost useless left arm from having broken my shoulder and had a bionic replacement put in I can still function normally and enjoy life and my family and friends.I am really blessed. I am so glad that Mary can still love.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Mar 08
Hatley good for you!! I myself am no spring chicken and I just hope when I am 81 I will still be posting in online forums.
1 person likes this
@CanadaGal (4304)
• Canada
19 Mar 08
That is so sad and sweet and touching! How wonderful it is that you were able to see your friend Mary again. And I must say, you have shared your account of the latest meeting with such eloquence. What a delight to read! Mary sounds very happy. That is often the case when dementia is involved. The people with the dementia seem to get along just fine, but the people around them, such as their friends and family, have a very difficult time adjusting to the new person their loved one is becoming. (unless of course the situation arises when the person with the dementia gets scared and doesn't recognize anyone or anything). For Mary's sake, I hope that her love of people never leaves her.
@Hatley (164652)
• Garden Grove, California
19 Mar 08
bujtterfly thats just so sad. Poor Mary and I bet she was once the most loving and happy person imaginable and I guess she is still loving. this reminds me of my own moms last year. she was the same way and the Alzenheimers just took her away little by little. the last time I saw her she hugged me and then said I should know you but honey I cannot remember . I was crying in spite of myself and she called my son Robbie Bobbie which was the name of her nephew but my son did have a slight resemblance to BoBbie. she was still my mom and yet she wasn't she no longer knew me and yet I knew she still loved me. Now I am eighty one and I can bear almost anything but losing who I am and not knowing my friends and loved ones.I try to keep my mind very active and do games and all sorts of things to stretch my mental capacity.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Oct 08
Keeping our minds sharp is a good way to keep it going. I send big huggers to you Hatley.
@mari61960 (4895)
• United States
21 Mar 08
Poor Mary, what a sad but all to common thing memory loss is. It sounds as though Mary's son is helping her. Though she can't recall names she sounds like she is still happy and I guess in the end that's all that really matters. Blessed Be
1 person likes this
@gabs8513 (48716)
• United Kingdom
21 Mar 08
That is so sad Elusive it really is I could not imagine not knowing People I love the Poor Woman
1 person likes this
@gemini_rose (16193)
20 Mar 08
This has to be the most saddest illness ever, and it is more worse for the people around, like family and friends, rather than the person themself because they are not aware of anything and they are just trapped in their own mind and world. I worked in a nursing home that care for people with alzheimers, dementia and mental health problems. We had 4 units, one was for those that were just showing with signs of alzheimers and dementia, but were no longer able to do everything for themselves, the next unit was for the more advanced cases and the 3rd unit was for those who had it so bad they could no longer move, or walk, feed or anything other than sit in a chair all day long. The fourth unit was for those with mental health problems, I did not work on this unit. But I worked on all the other 3 units during my time there and I would see them come into the home with most of their faculties, and then slowly get worse and worse to the point that they would be transferred to the other units because they needed more care. One patient who came to live on the first unit was a lovely lady and a proper little devil, she was great, the first patient I ever became attached to, I would go into work looking forward to spending my 12 hour shift with her, what a laugh we would have, we would play games and we even watched the football when it was the world cup, slowly over the weeks I saw the changes, she would forget things I had told her just minutes before, she started being more of a danger to herself. Then I would go in some days and she would not recognise me, that was the hardest, and eventually I watched her being transferred to the other unit because she became worse so fast I could no longer care for her on my own in my unit with all the other ladies. We would work so many months on each unit, and so when it came time for me to move to her unit again I took care of her, I asked to be her main carer and looked after her until the end. But it was horrible.
1 person likes this
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
20 Mar 08
what a beautiful tribute you have written, elusivebutterfly. Have you considered printing it off and gifting it to mary's son? there is a bitter sweetness to aging... it sounds like Mary is taking it all in stride.... the hard part is for those around her to do the same, I suppose.
1 person likes this
@KarenO52 (2951)
• United States
20 Mar 08
It does seem that in some Alzheimer's patients, while memories are lost, certain aspects of the personality remain. I was told that what they have trouble with is the easier things to remember, because with the harder things to remember, they've put more effort into remembering them in the first place, so they might stick. I had a patient once who couldn't remember her husband's name, or that she had just had a visit from him the day before, but she did remember that she had written a book. I was surprised, because when I entered her room, she was sitting in her chair looking at a book. I asked her if it was a good book, and she said she wasn't sure, but that it was one of the books that she wrote. I asked her If I could see it, thinking she was confused. I looked, and sure enough, she was the author of that book. It was a history book about Ohio. We talked for a little bit, and she was really interesting to talk to, because she still knew a lot, but could not remember her family, how many children she had, or their names. Her family had a calender there with great big blocks for each day of the week, and they had written their names, and when they had been there. They also had it marked as to when they would be coming back. I talked to her about the calendar for a little bit, and showed her what her family had written. She told me she didn't know who they were. The next week when I came back, I was assigned to another patient, but when she saw me in the hallway, she remembered me, and waved and called my name and said Hi. I was kind of shocked, because I had only talked to her that one time. She had a very loving and supportive family who visited often, and did the best they could to help her retain her memories.
1 person likes this
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
20 Mar 08
this is so very sad, unfortunately it happens to way too many of us
1 person likes this
@Feona1962 (7527)
• United States
20 Mar 08
This is such a very heart warming story...I am sad that she doesn't remember but glad that she has her son to take care of her..You are such a kind and loving person, Elusive...At least she does know who her son is...
1 person likes this
@Polly1 (12649)
• United States
20 Mar 08
That is so sad and heartbreaking. That is special that her son is living with her and taking care of her.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99481)
• United States
20 Mar 08
It sounds as if your Mary has Alzheimer's type dementia. It is good that she has the two options. I am glad her son is letting her stay in familiar surroundings, it will be so much easier on her. I hope when he needs to he will get care givers to come in and assist. I hope she continues to love people, and have a smile.
1 person likes this
@KrauseHome (35037)
• United States
27 Apr 08
Yes, it is so Sad to see as people get older when they start loosing a lot of the memories, and just cannot remember much. But at least you will always have the fond memories of her, and hopefully you will be able to remember these memories forever. Yes, even as we grow older there are people we forget about, but that does not ever mean we stop loving.
• Philippines
27 Apr 08
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@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Mar 08
You certainly have a way with words. That last line is very wonderful. I hope you remember it when you need it in the future. Take care