There are times when the world looks you right in the eye and taunts you, especially when you can’t do anything about it. When someone you love is forgetting you, it gives you an aching lump in your throat.
You tell her about the memories you have together – the purple tins in the fridge for feeding Blackie the cat, her teaching you how to make a steaming miniature apple pie, her tossing you a yellow packet of Buttons when your mum wasn’t looking – and she doesn’t remember. She smiles faintly, as if amused by your anecdote, but it has nothing to do with her. Not any more.
But then, her eyes light up with a glimmer of recognition. She’ll laugh and say, “You’re my favourite.” She’ll recognise herself in a photo when you point her out. She’ll know when she has her hair curled and makeup done, and thank you for making her feel like “Queen Julianna”. She’ll remember your name, but she won’t know it’s yours. Sometimes, she’ll know your face…but, sometimes, she won’t.
I couldn’t comprehend her not knowing her own granddaughter’s name. I didn’t want her to forget when we stood outside her house, watching the fireworks after the festival. I didn’t think I could watch her memory fade.
She would be the first one to tell me not to feel sad. “You might as well be laughing as crying,” she always says, with a mischievous chuckle. There’s nothing I can do, but be grateful that my Nana is still here, and when she forgets, that I can remember for her.