Dr John Smith: Don’t lose your memories

Pass on your memories, says Dr John Smith
Pass on your memories, says Dr John Smith

Whenever I lost anything at Cransley Hospice, my secretary Liz would say “never lost John dear, simply misplaced.”

It was a hopeful statement followed by a series of questions to help find the missing article – what were you doing when you last saw it? was the most helpful.

Now I don’t have a secretary and it is my wife that tries to jog my memory.

But what if it is not things that are lost but memories, for surely they are more precious than anything else that we possess. Memories are the treasure troves of our lives, they make us what we are.

We all need a secretary, a friend or companion, who will nudge us into finding our misplaced memories, encouraging us to bring them alive.

What was school like all those years ago, did you want to go into a factory and did you really have to walk all the way to work, what was life like without central heating, surely you didn’t have to go to the toilet at the end of the garden?

On and on these nudges can go until there is no need for any questions, when the past becomes alive and memories are released.

The talking does not stop and all we need to do is listen and be amazed. And when we listen we give dignity and value… this is my life and you have wanted to hear about it.

Why, you may ask, am I thinking about this today? I have no simple answer but it is something to do with a fear of losing it all. We, you and I, all of us, lead amazing lives.

It does not matter that we are not famous or rich or clever, simply that we have lived and the tale of our lives is worth knowing. If it is kept inside it might be lost forever.

Dementia can rob us of our own memory but if we have talked and others have listened then they have been passed on, the greatest gift of all.

Memories are never lost, simply misplaced and there to be handed on.