As I write this it’s the 19th and something nagged at me the 20th was a date I should know. I logged on to facebook and saw a 1000 Voices for Compassion update. It’s a group for bloggers that I think the name of speaks for itself. Now here I am writing. Good thing I joined the group at some point. Not sure when, but I did.
People forget all the time. People instantly think of Alzheimer’s patients when you start talking about memory problems. We’ve learned to have compassion for them.
But there are other reasons people forget. You have accidents that result in concussions, brain damage, and that can be a problem.
Have you ever wondered about people with amnesia? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an adult and not know 40 years worth of memories, people, history? Have you ever wondered how to deal with people like that? Probably not.
Let’s play pretend.
You look completely healthy. Actually you look healthier than before your accident. People look at you and have no clue anything is wrong. You might have to ask one of the simplest things you should know and people will think you are joking.
The responses range from a laugh and answer, to a curse and walking off. All you want to know is where the cooking oil is or which aisle the peanut butter is on.
Imagine if you will, walking in to a store and each time it is a brand new store, no matter how many times you walk in to the store. As far as you know have never been in that store.
Okay, let’s change that. Let’s say you wake up and you don’t know where you are. You look beside you and see a notebook that is opened to a page that says ‘Read Me’. Reading you now know your name, where you are, what is wrong with you, and how to find the restroom in the house because there is a hand drawn map on one of the pages you are told to read.
Imagine that is you every morning because not only do you have amnesia but you have short term memory problems as well.
Then you have to deal with people being mean to you. You are nice to everyone. You even cover your being afraid by joking with the cashier while the 70 year-old woman who drives you places is paying for the groceries.
Now imagine people you know, who talk to you each day, wanting you to be the exact person you were before. But you can’t. You don’t know how you became the person you were before. You want to be that person for those people and you search and search and you try to remember but the keys can’t be found.
Imagine the lack of understanding you have to deal with, even when told by the people they understand. Yes, you understand how the other people are frustrated because you can’t be the same. But what can you do about it? Can you make yourself remember and be the same? I guess that’s where the compassion comes in. Imagine the guilt you would have for not remembering. Imagine how you would see these people sad and looking at you to make things better and can’t. Imagine how the insides of you, the amnesiac are ripped apart each time that look is given, that word is said. Imagine how difficult it is for you to even face those situations that will rip them apart. Imagine the depression you would go through. Imagine how you would want it all to end.
All the things of your life that made you who you were and be the way you were and love the way you did have been forgotten—no, they have been taken away. What have they been replaced with? Opportunities for being made to feel like you are stupid and opportunities for guilt because you aren’t ABLE to act as you once did even if you do feel the same way.
Amnesiacs are a rare thing. They look healthy. They look normal. They are great actors. But they can’t do some of the simplest things due to no fault of their own. How many do you know?
Hello, my name is Ronovan. It says so on my notebook on my bed. Nice to meet you . . . again.
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