Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How do we preserve memory, how do we lose it?

I picture her staring at the black-and-white image of her brain, not quite understanding what they are telling her. 
The doctors, they point out the overall loss of brain tissue, the enlargement of the ventricles, the abnormal clusters between nerve cells, some of which are already dying, shrouded eerily by a net of frayed, twisted strands. They tell her about the shriveling of the cortex, which controls brain functions such as remembering and planning. 
And that is the moment when in a flash, mom can see clearly, in all shades of gray blooming there, on that image, how it happens, how her past and her future are slowly, irreversibly being wiped away—until she is a woman, forgotten.

Ben in Apart From Love

How do we preserve memory, how do we lose it? I am fascinated by these questions. My novel is inspired by the affect of Alzheimer's not only on the afflicted but on the entire family.

Ben's mother used to be a gifted pianist and is now stricken by early-onset Alzheimer’s, a rare form of the disease that appears in younger patients than usual. In her profession she depends on her brain, and the fear of losing control is paralyzing. It takes a while for Ben to fully realize that her mind betrays her. Here he imagines her reaction when she is given the diagnosis, after many years of being misdiagnosed.

My charcoal drawing, depicting loss

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  1. This sounds wonderful--and sad, all at the same time.

    1. Oh thank you Kathy, it is a fascinating subject and, like you said, sad.