How we forget things… even great things!

The brain is a marvellous thing.  Let me rephrase that – my brain is a marvellous thing!  It shuts out bad memories…

Photo Credit:  http://sadderbutwiser.wordpress.com/
Photo Credit:

http://sadderbutwiser.wordpress.com/

I am starting to forget Vic’s pain, the relentless nausea, intestinal obstructions, cramping.  I have blocked all the excursions to doctors, Radiology and Pathology Departments…the countless “Bad News” meeting with doctors.  I now focus on my longing for her.  The good and funny times…

I am unable to remain angry for a long time.  Well, at least with people I love.  I forgive easily.  Life is too short, and negative energy drains me.  Danie, my husband, believes I have a split personality.  If, or rather when we have an argument, I will say what I want to say.  I play the ball and not the man.  I don’t get personal nor do I generalise.  Within minutes of the argument I would have forgotten I am angry and start chatting again as if nothing ever happened.  Danie will sulk and stay angry for days…

When I have been harmed by malicious people, I forget.  They no longer “exist” in my life, but I don’t walk around with anger in me.  I will remain civil.  I just don’t care anymore.

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The bad thing about this wonderful brain of mine is that it also blocks out the good parts of bad memories…  As I no longer have a daughter to cure I Googled my own “symptoms” and found the following information  http://io9.com/5952297/two-ways-to-forget-bad-memories-according-to-a-new-scientific-study “One mechanism, direct suppression, disengages episodic retrieval through the systemic inhibition of hippocampal processing that originates from right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC). The opposite mechanism, thought substitution, instead engages retrieval processes to occupy the limited focus of awareness with a substitute memory. It is mediated by interactions between left caudal and midventrolateral PFC that support the selective retrieval of substitutes in the context of prepotent, unwanted memories.”

Specifically, individuals could remember what caused the event, but were able to forget what happened and how it made them feel.  Co-author Professor MacLeod said: ‘The capacity to engage in this kind of intentional forgetting may be critical to our ability to maintain coherent images about who we are and what we are like.’

The research, which was funded by the British Academy, is published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and CognitionHttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2162606/People-trained-forget-bad-memories-potential-breakthrough-emotional-disorders.html#ixzz2USqbrFM2

In one of my posts, https://tersiaburger.com/2013/05/25/most-influential-blogger-award/, I wrote that I would like to meet Nelson Mandela.  A blogger friend commented on it and it triggered something in my mind.  I HAVE met Nelson Mandela.  I should have articulated it differently – I should have said I would like to talk to him.

It was a horrible time of our lives when Vic started going to the Pain Clinic.  Her pain was out of control – or so I thought.  It was actually just “preparation school” for what was yet to come….  I was mortified that she was on 600 mg of morphine, a week…. When Hospice accepted Vic onto the program, she was already on 600mg of morphine, twice per day.

I digress.

Vic needed to consult with an anaesthetist, specialising in pain control, on a monthly basis to examined, her pain evaluated and to get a new prescription for the morphine.  It was one of those dreadful experimental phases of her life.  But, bad things lead to great things…

The Pain Clinic was in an élite part of our city.  It was a schlep to get to it and took hours out of a day.

This particular day Vic was in terrible pain, and it was difficult moving her from the car into the wheelchair.  Her beautiful eyes were dark from pain and filled with tears. I remember thinking “How tiny and sad she looks”…

We stood at the elevator for what felt like a lifetime.  All I wanted to do was get Vic into the consulting rooms so she could get an injection for pain… I was getting quite impatient with the delay of the lift when it started moving down.  I noticed quite a build-up of people on the outer periphery but did not pay too much attention to it.

The door opened.  Two tall men, wearing sunglasses, walked out.  There was an audible gasp in the hall.  The greatest statesman in the world, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, stood behind them.  He was so tall!

In total awe I moved Vic’s wheelchair back clearing the way for this amazing man.

He walked out of the lift and came towards us.  He stood in front of Vic, stuck out his hand, and said “Hello my dear.  How are you?”

“I am fine thank you Mr President,” Vic said

“I hope you feel better soon,” he said in his beautiful, raspy yet gentle voice.

He greeted me, still holding her hand.  I will never forget his gentle eyes.  He had an aura of greatness.  Two great warriors were locked in a moment of kinship.

“Goodbye” he said and walked away.

Death is however closing in on this amazing man.  This year, by the Grace of God, our country and the rest of the world will celebrate this great man’s 95th birthday.  Given his poor health and advanced age, it is to be expected that he will die not too far in the future.  It will be a sad day for South Africa and the rest of the world.

I know that he will meet Vic again in Heaven.  I believe that the two brave souls will recognise one another.  This time there will be enough time for them to linger and chat.  The people they are- it will be about their loved ones, the grace they experienced in their lives… I know they will not discuss the hardship, pain or suffering.

Two incredible people… Nelson Rohihlahla Mandela and Vicky Bruce.  Hero’s of many… two people who have made a difference, lead by example.

Photo Credit:  http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/02/01/mpr_news_presents

"Oh Mr President, my mom is your biggest fan ever..."
“Oh Mr President, my mom is your biggest fan ever…”