Christine Kelly | Aug 26, 2021
Having a loved one who is experiencing memory loss is never easy. But sometimes it can help to know you’re not alone.
Reading inspirational quotes about memory loss can provide a sense of solidarity. On days when it feels difficult to see a silver lining, you may find that turning to the words of great writers that spin profundity from pain lightens your heart just a bit. Revealing universal truths, exquisite turns of phrase, and even humor, these writers give us words to hold onto when things feel tough.
Here are nine quotes about memory loss that we hope will inspire you.
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
Italian poet Cesare Pavese said of his work that it was, “an attempt to express a cluster of fantastic associations, of which one's own perception of reality consists, with a sufficient wholeness.”
Indeed, when a loved one’s memory suffers, they may not remember certain days, but their perception of reality and how they relate to that reality, remains vital. This quote reminds us that even if the minutiae of life is lost, the moments that demonstrate our individuality are with us forever.
“Alzheimer's is not about the past—the successes, the accolades, the accomplishments… Alzheimer's is about the present and the struggle, the scrappy brawl, the fight to live with a disease. It's being in the present, the relationships, the experiences, which is the core of life, the courage to live in the soul.”
By describing his battle with Alzheimer’s as a “scrappy brawl” in his novel On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's, author Greg O’Brien reminds us that nothing is over until it’s over, and that one diagnosis doesn’t mean that memory loss has won.
In reminding us that the core of life is lived in the present, Greg O' Brien encourages us to take each moment as it comes, and find the “courage to live in the soul.” When watching memory loss impact a loved one, it’s important to treasure every moment, and not let regret cloud your appreciation of who they are and the quality time you spend with them.
“I suffer from short-term memory loss. It runs in my family. At least I think it does… where are they?”
If you’re looking for funny quotes about memory loss, there’s no better character to provide levity than the forgetful fish Dory from Disney's Finding Nemo. Despite her short-term memory loss, Dory is full of positivity, hilarity, and heart. In the movie, she teaches the audience that those living with a disability can find humor in their situations and that love and family live deeper than short-term memory.
“Love is the only memory one never loses, Isaac.” His father had said. “Because even if one loses his mind the memory always remains in the heart.”
In this quote, from his 2014 novel The Romantic, Mexican-born novelist Felix Alexander reminds us of the ties between love and memory. Even when a loved one with memory loss has difficulty with short- or long-term retention, love remains imprinted in a deeper place.
“A man does not consist of memory alone. He has feeling, will, sensibility, moral being… It is here… you may touch him and see a profound change.”
This quote, by famous author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, comes from his 1985 book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales.
In a kind and delicate language, Sacks emphasizes the idea that memory is not all that makes us who we are. Feelings, likes and dislikes, and simple physical presence are all key pieces of identity that can be cherished when memory begins to slip away.
“Memory loss is strange. It’s like showing up for a movie after it’s started. I’m sure I’ve missed something. I don’t know if it’s important or not. So I do the best I can to lose myself in the story and hope the gaps don’t matter. Later, I can look it up, or someone will remind me, or maybe it’s perfectly fine to not know.”
In her 2015 young adult novel Wishing for You, author Elizabeth Langston writes from the perspective of a teenage girl with memory loss. In this quote, we get a profound sense of acceptance and the calming idea that even if one’s memory has gaps, it does not need to negatively impact one’s enjoyment of life.
“My short-term factual memory can be like water; events are a brief disturbance on the surface and then it closes back up again, as if nothing ever touched it. But it’s a strange fact that my long-term memory remains strong, perhaps because it recorded events when my mind was unaffected. My emotional memory is intact too, perhaps because feelings are recorded and stored in a different place than facts. The things that happened deeper in the past, and deeper in the breast, are still there for me, under the water.”
In her incredible autobiography Sum It Up: 1,098 Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective, record-setting basketball coach and Olympic medal winner Pat Summitt gave us an intimate perspective on her experiences with an early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis, which she received in 2011.
In this beautiful quote, she reminds us that “emotional memory” and the memories of her heart are still a part of her, even within the debilitating disease.
“Memory loss teaches us not to entrance ourselves in the repetitive.” by Tamanend
Tamanend was Chief of the Turtle clan in the Lenni-Lenape nation, known as a lover of peace and friendship. Centuries before there were official medical terms for various types of dementia and memory loss, Tamanend made this profound observation.
By urging us to learn from memory loss, Tamanend points out that a sharp awareness of life can make our time, even a short time, brighter and more vivid. Being “entranced” by the repetition of everyday tasks can lead to living one’s life in a fog, and never truly appreciating the world moment to moment.
Memory loss teaches us many things, but well before we understood the exact scientific causes of Alzheimer’s and dementia, Tamanend encouraged us to shift our mindset, and fight our way out of the daily grind.
“Hi lover,” he says to me, completely forgetting what happened before. He knows who I am. He knows that I am the one person who he loves, has always loved. No disease, no person can take that away.”
From the 2009 novel The Leisure Seeker by American writer Michael Zadoorian, this quote highlights main character Ella who is speaking about her husband of 50 years who is struggling with memory loss. Though Alzheimer’s is stealing her husband’s memory and Ella is in pain from cancer, she is a witty narrator who is determined to eke out one last bit of adventure from life.
This quote reminds us that even when memory fails, love lives somewhere deeper in the body than just the brain. No disease can take away that kind of bond between two people.
We’ve re-named our memory care communities Kaleidoscope, a fitting name suggesting metamorphosis, vibrancy, and life.
At Walker Methodist, we don’t just take care of people with memory loss or dementia. We see their value and recognize their worth in this stage of their lives. We not only meet their physical needs, but we care for the needs of the person as a whole being.
If you have a loved one who is experiencing this transformation, reach out to our team today and learn how we can help enhance their lives, even during this time of change.