“All I Have Are Memories…”

I remember the last time I spoke with Aunt Analee.  My Uncle Buddy had an advanced form of Alzheimer’s.  She told me that it was hard to see him as he was;  unable to express himself, unable to read, displaying a vacant stare.  She said that Uncle Buddy was a constant source of fun;  that he was playful, enthusiastic, worldly in business, but with a child’s innocence at heart.  “All I have are memories…”

I remember my Aunt Analee’s words as I look at my own mother, Twyla Weiss.  It is hard to believe that this thin, feeble woman, with a shrunken face, for whom every thought is a struggle, who can no longer cook, and has a confused sense of time, was once quite the opposite.  Like her Mom, Grandma Lena, she was used to giving orders, had a genius for organizing, and shared her talents with countless other women, who relied on her without questioning whatever suggestions she might make.  She was a girl scout leader, PTA President, gourmet cook, and supportive and loving companion to my father, Murray Weiss.  It must be hard for him at 91 to see how helpless Mom has become, while he still exercises and takes care of finances.  He, too, must have many wonderful memories from a 67 year marriage.

Mom is now 89 and is feeling the brunt of age.  Her world is becoming smaller and smaller.  The things she can do are dwindling.  But my mind takes me back to Mom’s many friendships, and her ability to put people at their ease.  She helped my Dad become more social, since he came from an extremely insular family.  She helped me to confront difficult circumstances, serving as a guide in troubled times.  When I was stressed, he used to tell me:  “Let your arms hang loose like a rag doll, and smile.”  Her vitality and spunk were always an inspiration.  Alas, all I have are memories…

About Robert M. Weiss
From an early age, I've taken great pleasure in reading. Also, I learned to play my 78 player when I was quite young, and enjoyed listening to musicals and classical music. I remember sitting on the floor, and following the text and pictures of record readers, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s. My favorites were the Bozo and Disney albums. I also enjoyed watching the slow spinning of 16s as they spun out tales of adventure. I have always been attracted by rivers, and I love to sit on a boulder with my feet in the water, gazing into the mysteries of swirling currents. I especially like inner tubing on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Since my early youth, I've been interested in collecting minerals, which have taught me about the wonderful possibilities in colors and forms. Sometimes I try to imagine what the ancient Greeks must have felt when they began to discover physical laws in nature. I also remember that I had a special passion for numbers, and used to construct them out of stones. After teaching Russian for several years, I became a writer, interviewer, editor, and translator. I continue to delight in form, and am a problem solver at heart.

2 Responses to “All I Have Are Memories…”

  1. Sun says:

    difficult moments in life…struggling with Alzheimer being really a tough one. this is a good reminder to be grateful for memories we have with our love ones. thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment. And we can always use some sun in our lives.

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