Does she know that she forgot what she once knew?

Many of my readers know that I once in a while write about my great-aunt Margot, who is 93. I am her caretaker and she had to move into an elderly home after a severe stroke and heart attack last summer. She is an awesome woman and I write about her because she is a huge part of my private life. So once in a while I share.

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This week I went to visit aunt Margot, it is always a quite long trip as she lives about 4 1/2 hours away from here. When I arrived she was still taking her nap after lunch and so I had my usual meeting with the nurses first to talk about how she is doing, what her needs are and so on. So one of the nurses, who is organizing a lot of the social activities told me that aunt Margot is doing well, is very much-loved and that she is participating in a lot of those events. And then she told me that at a music gathering they took out my aunt’s guitar as she was talking so much that she wants to play guitar. And that aunt Margot was sitting there all of a sudden and didn’t know anymore how to play, and how she helplessly let her hands sink, the guitar still on her lap and said “I don’t know…I don’t know how to do this anymore”….and how this made her really upset. The nurse told me I should rather pack the guitar and take it with me as to not have this happening again.

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I cannot even tell you how sad this made me. It felt as if someone had punched me hard into my stomach – I instantly started to tear up and I think that of all the things she has forgotten the last couple months, this made me the saddest. Ever since she was a teenager, she had played guitar. Her guitar and her- inseparable. There are gazillions of photos of her and her friend – later with her husband – doing bicycle tours – the guitar on the back -photos of her playing – memories of mine of many many family parties of her playing her guitar.

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The photo above was taken at a friend of mine in 1996 where she just picked up his electric guitar and started playing. Just the thought of how she must have felt in that very moment made me sad.

So I went into her room and after lots of hugging and talking and laughing – I realized her guitar case in the corner. She followed my look and then she said: “ohh we had a thing last week and I played guitar – we had so much fun!”

I looked at her and she was all happy and told me of the songs she played and how she still knows them all and the lyrics to the songs too.

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How can I have possible taken the guitar case with me at this moment?

What can I say…I just hope that she really doesn’t know that she forgot what she once knew!

have a wonderful day

hugs

Nat

Comments (37)

  • julie

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    Bless you for being such a good caretaker. So glad you left the guitar with her. I take care of my 90 yr old disabled mother. What upsets them one day may be a favorite the next day. There may even be days when you aunt remembers how to play. I keep lots of things stashed in the closets near where she sits during the day so they are handy on days that she wants them and out of sight on days when she is having a hard time.

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  • cal8007

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    Oh Nath, I can really relate. My aunt is 88, has never married and lives alone, and my uncle, her bother is 86, a widower, and no children, and lives in an assited living facility. My uncle started forgetting things last year and my aunt and I were worried for him because he was forgetting to turn off the water in the sink or to turn off the stove. He wasn’t eating right and was very loenly. I got him to go to a adult day care, but when he started forgetting to take his medication, my aunt and I decided it was time to get him more help. We were fortunate to find him an excellent assisted living place and now has a companion who loves to dance as much as him and spends every week doing that during happy hour. It’s so nice to see him enjoying life once again. Now, my aunt is beginning to forget things too and I find it very sad because she’s been the family historian and knows all the dates when everyone was born, etc., and reached different milestones. I keep telling her to write things down so I can pass it along to the family before she forgets everything. Such is life, Nath. We just have to take one day at a time and do the best we can to help each other out. Love your story, thanks for sharing!

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  • Jan

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    What a beautiful story, and so honored that you shared a piece of your heart with us. Your aunt’s story has stayed on my desktop ever since you sent it out, I read it every few days and see so many different things each day. One day it’s the devotion and love, then it’s a lesson on how we all will lose precious memories too, the next time it is a story of an amazing life lived & beautiful memories, then I see the art that her life has created in you…..a new lesson each time! It’s staying there for a bit more time so I can continue to savor it! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Love your site & art & pieces of your life.

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  • Sue Clarke

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    I always love reading about your Aunt. Yes, how sad but how much hope that she thinks that she had a good time playing it. Maybe just seeing it gives her pleasure! Hugs.

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  • marjiekemper

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    What a blessing that she forgot, that she forgot. I went through this with my Mom and I so feel for you, Sweetie. Hugs! xx

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  • artquiltgirl

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    Such a lovely story about your love for your aunt…made me feel so good. Sorry about the guitar, but it was a lovely story and so heart felt. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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