Thursday, November 28, 2013

Memory lapses

A rose in my mother's garden
It is interesting how the brain reacts when you are in shock or overwhelmed. I am still not sure if it was shock,  jet lag or perhaps just tiredness, but several days in early November have escaped my memory and are only reluctantly being dredged up.

My mother died suddenly (but peacefully) on the evening of Thursday 31 October and on Friday I was on the plane to New Zealand to join in the family farewell. It was a precious time in so many ways. Death opens you up in a way that nothing else does (or perhaps only Wagner's music!) and you find yourself sharing information and experiences that have been long buried or forgotten. Thanks to Maori traditions, New Zealanders have found their way back to having the dead with them during this time and my mother was with us, in her open casket in an adjoining room with the door open. We felt her presence in the house that she loved and we often stopped during our conversations to say that she would be enjoying our conversation, or we would remark on what she would have said. Over the four days we all had lots of chances to be with her, to bring flowers in from her lovely garden which was in full spring bloom and to say our last goodbyes. My Mother much preferred family gatherings to large crowds and she would have approved of the 20 people, almost all direct descendants, who attended her farewell before finally carrying the casket out to the hearse (a grey car now, not the forbidding black of yesteryear).

I flew back to Australia on Tuesday, spent three nights at home then flew on to Melbourne. It is those three days that have gone missing. I had not been aware of my memory lapse until I started telling a close friend about the farewell. She reminded me that I had already told her about it. Had I sent an email, I wondered but she said no, we had had coffee and a long conversation on the day before I left for Melbourne. I remember it now, and our the table at the cafe,  but I had to pull out several of my minds drawers to discover the memory of our meeting.

It is not quite as bad as jet-lag which I suffer from badly and which leaves whole days completely inaccessible to my memory, but still it is disconcerting.

No comments: