Alzheimer’s, loss of hearing, dementia and other physical conditions can take our loved ones partially away and eventually completely away. With Alzheimer’s, our loved ones are sometimes there and sometimes not. Loss of hearing makes it practically impossible to communicate if they don’t want to wear a hearing aid and some people turn their hearing aid off until they want to talk. Then there’s the attitude of, “What’s there to hear? I’ve heard enough in my lifetime.” With dementia, the bodies are still there, but the mind may no longer be able to function in a conversation.
Sooner or later our loved ones pass away and we are left grieving. However, that doesn’t mean that Mom, Dad, spouse, best friend, or other cherished one are no longer with us. Memories keep our loved ones alive in our minds.
Our friend Glenn (who was the best man at our wedding) passed away last year. He used to make the best risotto in the world. Every time I try to make that dish, I remember him. “You have to be patient because it takes a long time,” he would say. No matter how many times I’ve tried to make it, my risotto is never as good as his. But I still have the memory of Glenn and his gray bushy beard. I can remember the sound of his voice and the big bear hugs he gave as a greeting. Part of Glenn is still with me.
Golden Gate park reminds me of my mother’s passion for flowers. One day we were driving past the arboretum, when she asked to stop the car. Faster than anyone could object, she took a pair of scissors out of her purse and beheaded three tulips. To say that we were aghast is an understatement. We were afraid we would all be locked up because of her fascination with flowers. Now, every time I drive past the spot, I remember her. She will always be with me because I will always have that memory of Mom.
British sports cars bring to mind my husband’s best friend Mark. Although he was a teacher, his avocation was repairing and restoring Jaguars, MG’s, and Triumphs. My husband’s eyes follow every Jaguar we pass and says, “Mark used to restore those beauties.” His best friend lives on in my husband’s memory.
We all have memories of loved ones; the angry look or toothy smile, their dumplings, their idiosyncrasies or obsessions. They will always live in our minds.
They are immortal to us.