Memory can be an elder’s most exquisite gift. It allows you to have roses in winter, lost youth in your heart, instant antidotes to your current fears. The first and cruelest infliction of Alzheimer is when our memories get sucked out of our lives.
When we’re young [there are 3 billion people on the planet now under 25] memories are accessed easily, for we have less to remember. When we’re old [the number of octogenarians has never been greater] recent memories may be slower, yet distant ones can be stunningly clear.
So how best do we — young and old alike — lock our best memories into a safe accessible place?
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh tested the question with a group of healthy volunteers between the ages of 60 and 90. They found the best way to best store our best memories is: “…by simply shutting our eyes and relaxing after seeing or learning something new.”
Oh really! Did we need a campus research program to conclude the obvious? A far more compelling study would have been: Where do our memories go when we die? Yes, of course, I understand dead is dead. I further understand the materialist philosophy that once the brain terminates, so do all its memories. However, isn’t there a bolder way to address this issue: Is matter all that matters in our lives? I think not!
Memories live on beyond the grave. In a hundred ways. In the albums and photos and memorabilia carefully left behind in that home where other brains pick up their cadence and carry them further. There is the spouse…the children…the family, friends and community…even the haulers hired to empty the place. You see those memories live past the wake, beyond the grave, into that enormous cosmic soup of energy that began bubbling the day after Eden.
If there is a God, he remembers. If there is no God, the cosmos remembers. Nothing dies forever.
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