Nehemiah prayed, "Remember me for what I have done, my God, and don't wipe out the good things that I have done for your temple and for the worship that is held there." Nehemiah
This past, Ms. Linda Williams from the Alzheimer's Association came to give a presentation on the importance of early detection in the treatment of Alzheimer's between church services. Having read the novel Still Alice while on vacation, I was interested in hearing more about current research and advances in treatment. During the course of the presentation, however, I found myself drawn to the people and their stories of life with this progressive, incurable disease.
And if the novel and the presentation were not enough, seeing the recent Glen Campbell documentary "I'll Be Me" added another layer of meaning -- the family's vulnerability as they watched a vibrant musician forget his children's names and the lyrics to his songs, even as his fingers played the melodies on his guitar.
The novel, the presentation, and the documentary have provided much food for thought about the nature of life and identity. In our lives we perform a thousand tasks without thinking about the complex neurological web that holds it all together. Our memories serve as markers on the road of our life's journey and it is terrifying to me to think that Alzheimer's can erase those markers so thoroughly, that we forget not only the roads we've traveled, but the people who traveled with us.
I cannot imagine how surreal and painful it is to watch someone you love, moving away from you, dying to you, even while they live and breathe. And yet I know so many members of St. Margaret's who live this every day.
But perhaps our lives are not only defined by what we know or remember, but also defined by what we do. If we love, if we work to make the world better, if we are catalysts for joy and justice, then we leave good things in our wake. And those good things endure. Even if we cannot remember them, we are remembered.