Around the time I got the final dole check until the cut off point, the old man ran out of Post-its. The Post-its had been ckeeping him in check for a couple of years - without them, he’d have forgotten how to do most of the stuff he’d stopped getting used to a couple of years before. So if he needed to remember to turn a tap off at night, he would stick a Post-it on his bedroom door, so that he could go back and check. He used to leave the kitchen tap running. Stopped doing that when he put the Post-its on his bedroom door.
Then he started forgetting to water the plants. He’d been into gardening since his thirties, and he attmpted to cut despair’s laugh off early as possible by leaving Post-its around to help him remember to do a job that hadn’t required Post-its a few years before but now did, therefore turning it from a job into an order. An order from his past self. I rang him one day and asked him to come watch Memento but he forgot to come round. Sent him a link of the final scene on Youtube - guess that did the job. Definitely managed to do the job when i asked him about it a week later and he’d forgotten.
The strange thing about dementia is that we force ourselves to see it as nothing other than suffering, when in fact forgetting can be blissful. If memory is not required in order to survive - if memory serves as nothing more than to serve the capitalist paradigm that keeps us under its yoke - then the senile are truly free. They always remember to eat. They always remember to drink. Maybe not in the final weeks, sure, but by then the mind has practically ceased to be sentient. Before that, however, all the hitherto precious memories of the present - such as being able to remember the Prime Minister of Palestine, if there is one - fade out to be replaced by insane static. Insane, yes, but unhappy? I’m not so sure. My dad never lost his memories of childhood, which tells me something i already suspected - that adulthood is nothing more than a looking-back at the most real and true years of our lives.
Childhood, that timeless age where fear and happiness were more extreme than they’d be again, is indelibly stamped upon us, even in insane times. We escape back into that extremity of emotion to remind us that we were once alive. We, the sane, are dead in our short-termism. What is really important? We castigate and chide children for placing emphasis on unimportant things such as ice cream and jelly, but what is life than sensory pleasures? Sex is to the adult what ice cream is to the child - joyful. No more, no less. We are not really developed - we’re just better communicators, for a while at least.
Then communication’s bridges are burned, for whatever reason, and we cease to extend ourselves and retreat. For that is all that dementia is, really: the mind retreating, accepting its defeat against death. Nothing is more peaceful than a mind unaware of its body’s shortcomings. And so death is no longer dreaded, for nothing is known and nirvana is attained in life. The nirvana of forgetfulness.
Annoying how he shits himself though.