The sick and aging deserve to be remembered

The other day I was flipping through a photo album – a window into a world when my grandparents were young and vibrant.

Their smiles for the camera were true ​and honest​ – something I can still remember with such clarity, though I haven’t seen their faces for many years now.

A thought popped into my head while thumbing through one page, one photograph after another. While age is a sign that you’ve had a long life, it also means that once you’ve become a pale representation of your former self, many will inevitably forget you.

Humanity has a difficult time dealing with those we love when they’re nearing the end of their life – when age has made them withered, frail and feeble.

I suppose it’s a defense mechanism to shield us from the reality of death and the grief that’s left in its place. But it’s also representative of a society that reviles aging and will go to absurd measures to not only turn back the hands of time, but forever brand “growing old” as something no one should want to experience.

​Others assume that if someone doesn’t know who they are, they doubt it will matter if they see them or not.

But the most commonly used reason for forgetting about the sick and aging is certainly when someone says, “I don’t want to remember them that way.”

I was at the hospital when my grandfather (who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease) died, and religiously visited my grandmother in a nursing home where she eventually passed away. And while seeing them suffering and struggling with each breath was far from pleasant, the wonderful memories we shared definitely overshadowed the physical state at the end of their lives.

I came across this remarkable song the other day. It’s called Remember Me (An Anthem for Alzheimer’s Disease) written by Chris Mann, Laura Mann, Rudy Tanzi, Willy Beaman and Dora Kovacs.

And while the song is definitely in support of a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, its message is an anthem for everyone who’s suffering from illness or imprisoned by a body burdened by age. I hope it inspires you just as much as it’s inspired m​e to remember that age and illness will never diminish the person in our hearts.​

Here’s a snippet (watch the full video here):

I know there’ll come a day, when I have gone away,
And the memory of me will fade
But darling think of me, and who I used to be
And I’ll be right there with you once again
I hope I’m one thing worth not forgetting
Tell me that you’ll never let me go

When I can’t find the words that I​’m​ trying to speak
When I don’t know the face in the mirror I see
When I feel I’m forgotten and lost in this world
Won’t you please – remember me
Remember me