When the mind leaves…….

Yesterday, I spent several hours with my 95 year old Aunt.     Up until thee years ago, she was enjoying excellent physical and mental well being….and then everything changed.

Aunt Peggy still looks physically very well for someone of 95, however what has changed is her complete memory loss.



Two years ago, I went with her to a specialist, and after brain scans it was determined that disease had set in…..what is incredible to observe is how rapidly the memory has disappeared.

I found this quote, which so beautifully expresses what I sensed yesterday.

“Grandpa’s mind had left us, gone wild and wary.   When I walked with him I could feel how strange it was.   His thoughts swam between us, hidden under rocks, disappearing in weeds, and I was fishing for them, dangling my words like baits and lures.”   Louise Erdich 

I dangled my words like baits and lures.    I talked about when  my Aunt and my Mother were part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment VAD/Red Cross in World War II…..and how they were both present at Haslar Royal Naval Hospital, in Gosport  Portsmouth, on D Day.   I told her that the 70th anniversary of D Day is coming up.    However, my Aunt couldn’t  remember any of it and no longer understood what D Day even was…..

I am pleased that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my Aunt while her mind and memory were still alive and also to observe the full and active life she was able to enjoy for so long.

I was reminded once again of the importance of living each and every day to the full…

A Bientôt





14 thoughts on “When the mind leaves…….

  1. ShimonZ

    I don’t know if this picture of Aunt Peggy is from your recent visit with her or from an earlier time. But if it is from now, she is still very beautiful. Unfortunately, I have had a number of such encounters with people I loved. One of the things I realized, was that even after the memory loss, the personality usually remains much the same. And it is possible to find topics in the here and now that do not depend on memory. Possible to evoke responses that remind us of things gone by… that she couldn’t possibly remember, and yet, she will have her unique attitude to that something, though the context is lost. There remains a basis for communication and the expression of love even after the deterioration of the mental process. Sending you love and best wishes…

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      I took this photograph yesterday….and yes you are right, she is still very beautiful and her warm, gentle personality is the same. I took her to a coffee shop where we could people watch through a big picture window. We had very comfortable seating….and she really seemed to enjoy that. Thank you so much, Shimon – your comments are always appreciated.x

  2. Tish Farrell

    This is such a moving post, Janet. I had a similar situation with my aunt. She seemed quite content in the here and now, and my feeling was that her remembering mind had gone to some other reality that was not accessible to those around her. She once told us that she never grew bored in the home she was in because she had so much to think about. By this time she could not read or write, and had dwindling powers of conversation. So as you say, live life while you can, and RIGHT NOW!

  3. g Porter

    What a tender piece Janet. I sometimes think that my own Mother still had her ‘mind’ but would not let us in.. maybe she was preparing us for the actual separation . Some need preparation. And my own Sister, who transitioned was as sharp as a tack.. but prepared us with the witnessing of her pain. I don’t know.. just random thoughts.. fishing I guess.. (smile) ❤ LOVE you dear friend.. g

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Hi Dear Gini….maybe this is a way to prepare for separation and transition…..I am just so pleased that since I returned to the Uk 21 years ago, I have spent many happy times with Peggy….good, rich memories. Thank you.xxx

  4. Bonnie Halsey-Dutton

    I was blessed to meet Peggy when her mind WAS sharp.. probably at 92? She was an inspiration, living her life on her terms and very independent. This is a cruel way to lose a loved one, but I know you have wonderful memories of her when she was at her best, and that is good.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Hi Bonnie – Yes, I am so pleased that you got to meet Peggy….and as Shimon mentioned…even though her memory is gone, her true personality still shines through….she is really living in the moment. Hope you are continuing to have a wonderful time, and that the sketch book is filling up:)

  5. Peter

    Well, Janet, what can I say? I’m just pleased that both before and then after James’s death we had so many good times with Peggy, and it’s strange isnt it? If I’d not had my accident and hadn’t had all that time off, virtually none of those terrific lunches and bbq’s would have happened. Those days may be gone from Peggy’s memories now, but I think they’ll stay in yours, Lorraine’s and mine for an awful long time…

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Hi Peter….how lovely to hear from you. Yes didn’t we enjoy some wonderful times together….and yes the memories will stay with all of us. Love to you and Loraine. x

  6. huttriverofnz

    Great and sad post Janet. It can affect us all at some time in the future. Would love to think I could survive to 90 yrs in a good state, but I don’t think so. Must keep busy all the same.


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