Friday, April 23, 2010

Of memories...

Imagine this : the love of your life looks at you, calls out the name of someone else and says I love you. What would you do?

I would walk out the door and cry my heart out like the hero did. He can't blame his wife for what she said. Afterall she has had the worst luck in being a victim of a rare inherited form of Alzheimer's. And when he asks 'she says someone else's name and I love you. Who does she love'? You  are  as deprived of words as he is.

A Korean movie about the havoc Alzheimer's plays in a young couple's life left me moist eyed. I was at a loss for explanation. What till yesterday had remained a matter of biology, proteins and science for me, took a reality check and I was deeply disturbed. The heroine is not at fault...she does'nt even remember herself anymore.

I've spoken about Alzheimer's during classes and like all fans of research pontificated about finding a cure for it. But that has always been a thought..a memory...and to think I have nothing to protect me from losing the ability to recollect it one day sends a shudder down my spine.

Imagine not being able to find your way home, to remember people, names, numbers, happy moments, sad moments, fights, hurt, love, laughter, your dog, your favourite color - NOTHING plainly. Imagine the pain that someone who loves you would go through watching you at a loss.

Imagine waking up in the morning and not knowing where you are and who you are, losing your short term memory faster and your long term memory following close behind. Like the doctor in the movie said - a mental death before a physical one?

I watched the agony the girl went through as she struggles to comprehend what happens to her and her husband yearning for a miracle that could fish her out of her pain. Imagine the sorrow he goes through when he takes her to all the places they've been to and she remembers nothing? Imagine how it rips his heart when he reads a letter she writes when her memory is back for a while and she realizes what she is putting him through and leaves the house.

Watching the movie made me realise that the greatest gift we all have is the ability to remember. True it hurts when a memory brings nothing but tears but think about it..down the lane if you had the choice between a blackout with your mind and a pot pourri of emotions ranging from excruciatingly paniful to enormously happy what would you choose? Alas! Alzheimer's doesnt wait for you to decide.

Its one thing to lose loved ones to death...but its a whole other form of suffering to watch them run around with no clue about anything or anyone.

This was'nt the melodramatic love story where the hero wastes away with the memory of her or there is a 'miracle' that brings her back and they do a duet. NO. This was real. This is what happens to people with Alzheimer's. To men and women who've been loving parents, husbands, wifes, grandparents and now have no recollection of having been all that! There is no protein Kleenux that can de-clog circulation and restore life for those poor souls or answer the huge WHY in the minds of their near and dear ones.

Am no Nobel laureate and I'm not a social worker either talking about Alzheimer awareness. This is just what I was contemplating enough to feed my lachrymals. Love completes a person's life but it also suffers at the hands of biology. Like the hero never know how creul life can get. I felt guilty for the times I had employed Alzheimer's in jest because there is nothing funny about it in reality.

A lot of diseases cause pain - cancer, AIDS you name it. A man can cry out loud from it because he understands what he is going through and remembers times he was better. But what can you do when you don't remember what you should be doing and what you should be screaming out loud for??

Am gifted with a wonderful life like many out in the world. And I've realized that I get to live, love, forgive and remember what I have while I do....

I sincerely hope science finds a way to conquer this disease. I would be glad to help if I can...for now, I pray for everyone to remain healthy, aware and happy...

P.S: This is a Korean movie titled "A Moment to Remember"

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  1. Like the quote goes, The brain is biology's greatest challenge. Perhaps in a sense it is the greatest challenge for science as a whole, beyond moon landings, the ultimate particles of the physicist and the depths of astronomical space.

    To think that everything depends on this small organ... well, amazing and scary at the same time. Anyways, nice review!

    And as for your line, Love completes a person's life but it also suffers at the hands of biology - well, I can only say, Love itself is only pure biology! n i feel no one but you wld accept that better ;)

  2. wonderful one nets.. made me go all queasy...

  3. A very touching movie. A brilliant and sensitive review. Thanks for your understanding. Someone very close to me had Alzheimers. I can relate to it....Anyways, once again, wonderful writing. If you haven't already, please do watch "The Awakenings", an excellent movie on similar lines with stellar performances by Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

    1. Thank you Prem. I shall definitely watch the movie...