It was a nice birthday party. People I care for and love were all around me – they put up with me. Lots of laughs and silliness. Isn’t it interesting how important stories are to a good gathering? In fact, it seems that most of our interaction and conversation has to do with stories – real or embellished – and the memories behind the stories. I was thinking as I was watching and listening how much a party can be like an oldies concert or a radio flashback. Of course, the stories are usually about shared experiences, too, or, at least, stories that somehow will interest everyone because of who they might know or because of common experiences. Anyway, all the stories are about memories and times – the good and the not so good. It’s important, I suppose, to have some good stories for a party to be any good.
I was with some memory patients yesterday. Sitting down and talking with them is never difficult – they only have a few memories and stories. They, of course, tell them like they are new stories but they are stories I have heard many times in the past few months. The patients tell their stories with smiles, grins, and as if they were sharing something new and exciting. It’s like a small mini-party. I, of course, laugh and carry-on about their stories. It’s the right thing to do.
For me, opening up memories is like opening an unmarked brown paper bag. Will there be some goodies in it – or a snake? I tend to stay away from memories quite a bit now. It’s my way of surviving.