Learning How to Forget:Lessons of a Care Taker

Will - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Entered on February 21, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, illness, love
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

“Mom, you asked me that five seconds ago,” I said, “I didn’t move your purse.” She looked around in desperation while the anger I felt in my stomach overflowed throughout my torso. I stormed from the kitchen, leaving her to search, and research the same cabinets and closets without any help. A few minutes later, my mother’s face came into view like the sun popping above the horizon. She stared at me and looked saddened by the swollen, tear soaked demeanor of my face. “Why are you crying?” she said. “You,” I answered in a venomous tone. She simply looked away and left the room. A few minutes later, sobs came from my parent’s room. I went to see what my words had done. Crumpled on the bed, shaking with each sob, sniffling the rivers of unending tears back into her head, my mother looked up and didn’t say a word. “What?” I demanded in a heated voice. “Why do you always start these things and act like it’s my fault?” She just kept looking, crying, and wondering. “What did I even do?” she stammered into her hand. “I’m sorry you got stuck with me for a mom.” I just stared into the watering wells that led to the soul of the women lying in front of me. I knew she would not even remember this in ten minutes. I left the room.

My biggest fear is losing a grip of that which I care about most. A common fear when one first hears it, but when I say the word grip I mean control, contact, and most of all, understanding. For someone who needs organization as much as I do, my mother’s diagnosis with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease three years ago could not have been any worse. My reaction in the conversation mentioned in this essay truly shows my biggest fear; however, it is also a way to show how I came to one of my strongest beliefs.

Throughout the past few years, my life has undoubtedly become harder. My mother, who cannot drive anymore because of her disease, needs rides places. Getting ready to go out the door takes an hour, and conversations include questions that have been asked multiple times. But perhaps the process of growing is not supposed to be easy. Throughout these trials, I have learned the only thing that I can say with certainty that I believe: true understanding comes not from logical thought that encourages the philosophy of blame and perpetuates the fallacy of cause and effect, rather, it comes from one’s ability to love without sight or judgment. Although anger is inevitable, with this belief I know the actions of my mother are lovable no matter what. I used to think that her actions were irrational and therefore annoying, however, it is now clear to me that her way of acting is how one truly understands another person. Many think that her loss of memory is a curse, but I say that she has been blessing to so many people through her teaching this lesson. Weather she knows it or not, learning how to forget is something that we all must do in order to truly understand one another. The love that sustains us is blind to our actions; we should be too.