The night before the Sedalia Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I found a package of paper forget-me-nots. We sell the flowers for $1 at fundraising events, but I didn’t have any events coming up. I posted on Facebook that I would make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association for every name given to me. I would put their loved one’s name on a forget-me-not and display them on my vendor table at the Sedalia Walk to End Alzheimer’s. In all, I had about twenty names and donated $5 each.
The morning of the walk, I began taping the forget-me-nots to my table. The wind caught one of the flowers and I chased it down. The place of honor went to Jim’s forget-me-not. I had written “Grandpa Jim” and “Great Grandpa Jim” around the edge. Jim loved being a grandpa, and he loved his grandchildren with all of his heart. He would have equally loved the grandson and great-grandson that were born after he passed away.
Alzheimer’s forgetting is different from age-related memory problems. I forgot to send out my fundraising letters until a couple of weeks before the walk. I asked them to make the checks payable to the Alzheimer’s Association and send to my Post Office box, and I would deposit them with the app on my phone.
Sometimes, several weeks can pass before I remember to check my Post Office box for mail, but I checked it regularly before the walk. I was expecting two donations through the mail, but the box was empty every time.
Finally, I noticed a metal piece across the back of my box. The fee is due in June, and I always pay as soon as I get the notice. My key still worked, so it didn’t make sense that the box was closed.
At home, I searched my various bank accounts and credit cards to see when I had paid for my box. My husband got tired of my searching, called the Post Office, and handed me the phone. After a short conversation, I received the distressing news that my box had been closed due to non-payment. Of course, the people I needed to talk to wouldn’t be in until later in the day.
“I can’t believe I forgot to pay for my box,” I told my husband. “I’ve had that box for twenty years and never once paid late.”
“We’re getting old and forgetful,” he said. “We have so much more to remember now than ever, so it isn’t any wonder that we might forget to pay something.”
Then, I began lamenting about my insurance that is due in September and other mail that may have been returned. After checking my scanned documents, I was reassured that I had received my insurance statements in August and they were already paid.
I went to the Post Office that afternoon and found the box had to be reissued to me as if it were a new box, although I would have the same box number. “I don’t remember ever getting a notice, and I certainly never got a late notice,” I said.
“There was a problem in June.” He didn’t elaborate and at this stage, it didn’t matter anymore.
I think I had my own problems in June. I added a year to my birthday and obviously purged part of my memory. I’ve gone to an electronic to-do list which is supposed to be my reminder to pay certain bills. The big problem is that I forget to load up the list and look at it daily.
My most reliable memory aid is the calendar on the wall. I write appointments and reminders on it so that I forget-them-not. I check the wall calendar daily as I walk by it on my way to the coffee pot. The one thing I never, ever forget is my coffee.
Writing names on the $1 forget-me-not flowers are a way to remember and to honor our loved ones who are living with, or have died from Alzheimer’s. No one is truly forgotten when his or her name is etched inside our hearts.
Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December
Copyright © September 2022 by L.S. Fisher