Try To Focus On The Good Memories

Try To Focus On The Good Memories 

As memories fade, personalities change, and it's difficult to have a meaningful conversation with the person who gave you life, love and then freedom—how does a Caregiver BE WITH and CARE FOR that person, for a few minutes or even worse, hours or days at a time?

They are changing right before your eyes AND you are, what seems like, suddenly spending time with someone you don't recognize and obviously never knew.



into a frustrating, stressful and dreadful experience.


and WHAT am I supposed to do to keep my own sanity?


After questioning and then listening to the ONE who has all the answers before I even know the question, I found focusing on the Good Memories helps.

FORTUNATELY, there have been good memories over the years and…


the one I always go back to, especially when I leave my Mom after an extremely trying time is the


This is the one both she and my Dad kept from their 3 girls as long as they could, probably because they didn't think it was a very good example for girls on how to pick a mate.

We were sitting around the kitchen table (I was 17) and one of my parents' good friends, Clarence, stopped by to wish them Happy Anniversary.  Truth be told, he probably stopped by for a fresh cut of coffee and a piece of my Mom's irresistible Buttermilk Pie to go with it.

Anyway, Clarence proceeded to talk about how none of their friends thought the marriage would last (in fact some had even bet against it) especially because they had only known each other ONE DAY before they married.


talk about a lively discussion over pie and coffee (ha ha).

Turns out my Mom (Betty) was actually engaged to a “Sailor” she met while visiting her aunts and cousin in New York City.

Shortly after she became engaged and returned home to Texas, her best friend (also named Betty) kept inviting her to come for the weekend.  Her friend insisted she meet a young man she and her husband (R.T.) were sure she would like and she must make the trip before she married the “Yankee from New York.”

Reluctantly and out of curiosity, the way my Mom tells it, she borrowed the family car and drove almost 3 hours to have some fun and meet the “man of her dreams.”

When she arrived, they all (Betty, Mac, Betty, and R.T.) went to the local carnival.  Since Mac was a top notch baseball player with a throw that could scorch anyone's glove, he knocked down stack after stack of pins to win his date enough prizes to fill a wheel barrel.  Sounds like he was trying to make a good first impression.

After loading the carnival loot in the car and, as the 4 of them drove way from the fair grounds, R.T. asked–“Mac, when are you going to ask Betty to marry you?”  Mac replied–“As soon as you pay me the $100 you owe me.”


The next day, with their friends standing up for them and $100, no doubt burning a hole in Mac's pocket, Betty and Mac were married in a little white church on the outskirts of Early, TX near Brownwood.

Right before the ceremony, my Dad said the minister looked at him with a serious squint and said–“You know I've married a lot of young couples, since the War ended, who only knew each other for a few weeks and I hope your courtship was nothing like that.”

Mac proudly (and I can almost see that crooked grin), with his chin in and chest out, replied–“Oh No Sir, This is Nothing Like That.”


The next day, my Mom took her new husband and the family car back to her Mother.  As she pulled up at the house, she asked Mac to stay in the car as she thought it would be better for her to tell her Mother the news by herself.  We still don't know exactly what she said to her Mother but when she came back outside to get Mac to come in and meet his Mother-In-Law, he was in the front yard playing catch with her 2 brothers who had also recently returned from the War.

Years later, after Clarence's visit, I remember asking my Mom why she would have married someone she had only known for a day.  She never seemed the spontaneous type but that may have been only from a daughter's perspective.  She said because Mac was one of the most polite men she had ever met and he made her laugh.  I also asked what happened to the “Sailor”.  She said she was sure he found someone else and, like so many young people after the War, had children and provided for his family.

Not to let my Dad off the hook, I also asked him what made him ask Betty to marry him when he had only known her a few hours and I knew it couldn't have been just to get his $100 back.  He said he asked her two questions and she answered them both correctly–Can you cook? AND Are you a Baptist?

There you have it–Betty and Mac's wild and crazy but lasting story.  They spent 62 years getting to know each other and thankfully they liked what they found out.

PS–My Dad made my Mother send the ring back to the Sailor with a Dear John letter.

PSS–Not sure if my sisters remember the story the same way but I'm the oldest so we're going with my version.

Remember I said in a previous post—

As time passes, if you allow them to, the memories help you through the process.  Focus on the memories.
Be a Caregiver Who Cares About Yourself Too,
Until next time here is a neat 8 minute video from one of my favorite sites (Ted Talks) by, Peter Doolittle, called “…Your Working Memory”
Understanding how your memory works may help you understand what's happening to your loved one's memory.