Memory Bandit

My mother called last month to wish me a belated birthday. Never mind that my birthday isn’t for another two weeks; just remembering the event is a victory.

“She gets exhausted trying to remember everything, then she’s even more anxious,” our part-time caregiver observes. It’s a vicious and all-too-common cycle repeated in the endless loop of dementia.

Mom’s recollections flit between past and present, phantoms of a past life. Clocks and calendars are a cacophony of confusion. My ever-shifting caregiver job description is riddled with uncertainty: I have become the keeper of memory, the guardian of time and space. As the Alzheimer’s memory bandits continue their relentless ransacking, we try to stay in the now, measuring moments in memories.

“I don’t remember the date of your birthday,” mom said, “but I love you! That I will never forget.”