Remembering Yesterday

for remembering 2


The sun caught a tiny droplet as it slipped over a crease from the corner. It made its way down the canyon of lines time had carved. I could almost predict the place it would land. I knew it would eventually evaporate rather than be absorbed. The leathery skin was long past supple – and so were some of the places in her heart.

This afternoon was different. Something about our conversation struck a chord – a distant memory brought moisture back to her dull eyes. A trickle released from the welled up reservoir.

Her hand slowly moved up from the frail lap where it rested, revealing dried residue from a lunch spill. She tried to catch the unfamiliar moisture before it exposed her vulnerable self.

The words, “I can’t remember,” faintly slipped through her pursed lips. She knew it was a simple question – one she could easily answer. Instead, blank space now occupied much of what used to be full.

Another question and a long pause un-furrowed her brow. “He grabbed me from behind yesterday and we danced all the way to the garden,” she told me. For a moment her eyes joined the waltz before her thoughts tiptoed away.

Her retired dancing legs now hang limp from a seat supported by large worn wheels.

Yesterday was probably decades ago and yet it graciously visited for a quick look back today. Tenderness and youth were deposited –  for just a moment.

She didn’t remember the landslide of days that passed too quickly, or the monotonous months spent working behind a desk. Her mind didn’t bother to recall the thousands of trips to the supermarket, gas station or business appointments. Her positions, titles, paychecks, accumulations were all long gone and of no significance to her now.

She remembered her feelings though. She remembered matters of the heart.

I often wonder what we’ll remember in heaven and what part of our earthly existence goes with us. Will we be tormented by what we can’t hold onto – those memories of all we thought brought us significance. Or will we be remiss that too much time was spent on things that didn’t matter at all.

Worn leathery skin doesn’t happen overnight and neither does a tired leathery heart.

Healthy heart care comes from a lifetime of intentional choices. When memories fade and life narrows to a simpler existence the mind releases much that has been accumulated – sometimes to our benefit and other times not.

Give yourself permission to cry and feel, to love and be loved. Make memories. Touch someone’s soul with your words and actions. Actions that remain.

Today will eventually become our yesterday too – the yesterday we hope to remember.





21 replies on “Remembering Yesterday”

  1. Hi Pat! My mother in law had dementia. She couldn’t remember much of anything at all. She would look up at the sky (maybe she thought there were answers there?) and say “I don’t remember.” Well, at least it didn’t cause her any pain.

    You make a good point that I need to make good memories now. Memories of helping and lifting others, because that’s what life should be about. I don’t care if I don’t remember the sale price of beans, or a gallon of gas. It’s the people in my life I want to remember, and hopefully how I have made them smile.
    Have a Good Friday 🙂

    1. It’s not easy to be around the aged, and especially difficult when there’s little or no conversation. They still have value though and can teach us a lot about ourselves and our Heavenly Father. Both very good things.

      Thanks so much for visiting and sharing Ceil, it blesses me.

  2. This story has a message for all of us. How many days have we already forgotten, even before we’re older and subject to the painful path of memory loss. Hopefully our lives are filled with many worthwhile experiences and hopefully we are sensitive to being a worthwhile experience to our families and people in our community. This is a lovely post…sad, but with a tender message of encouragement.
    God Bless you Pat.

    1. I love the challenge of “being a worthwhile experience”. I’ll be using that one. Thank you for visiting the blog, Carolyn. God bless you too.

  3. Pat, your post struck many chords this morning, most of them filled with sadness. Almost three years ago, we watched my husband’s brother slip away all too quickly to a dementia rarely heard of, Lewy Body dementia. It slowly creeps through the brain stopping not only cognitive but physical abilities to disappear. Now my husband’s sister is reflected in this post so clearly. Nearing 90, she has recently moved to within 8 blocks of us in an assisted living community. Each time my husband goes to see her or we visit together she asks, “Have you been here before?” We visit regularly and she doesn’t remember.

    I am trying to learn from these experiences that today is too soon forgotten, even before I close my eyes to rest something has slipped from my grasp. I don’t want that to be the way my life is committed to His Glory. So I am writing a list of daily gratitudes as well as keeping myself writing on my blogs and completing a book I’m writing. we must preserve our stories for future generations so when we forget important times, there will be a record.

    1. I’ve been sitting in a boat similar to yours for quite some time now. There is definitely a deep sorrow attached to the loss dementia and aging bring. It’s not an easy path to walk down and is also the reason so many people are left without visitors in nursing homes. My husband often reminds me that the visitors need to visit is much less about the person who can’t remember then it is about the visitor themselves. We need to visit for our sake.

      Offering your sorrow to the Lord through your writing is both honorable and scriptural. God is glorified already, Sherrey. Thank you so much for sharing your story here.

  4. “Today will eventually become our yesterday too,” – such a powerful statement. And we don’t know when our final “today” will be, do we. Thanks for these thought provoking words, Pat.

    1. No, we certainly don’t know when our final today will be. But like Hosea says, “Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you”.

      Today is definitely the day to sow for our tomorrow.

    1. Bless your heart, Sheila. Life can sure get tough at times, can’t it. I’m glad to get to know you and hope to see you again at Lisha’s next week.

  5. What beautiful writing Pat.
    this really resonated with what I saw in my Dad as he aged and died recently. he remained a loving, gentle, grateful lover of God till the end, even tho vascular demential took lots of his memory.

    1. I remember reading about your dad. He was fortunate to have such an attentive daughter and you are blessed to have his godly heritage. I’ve always heard there’s a vast difference between people who have faith and those who don’t as death draws closer. The more time I spend around the aged I am increasingly convinced that is true. No wonder it’s called our “Blessed Assurance”.

      May God continue to be near to you Carol and give you comfort in loss. I appreciate knowing you.

  6. We spent time today with my mama who is in the early stages of dementia. She gets along fine but doesn’t remember what day it is or the name of the show she’s watching. She repeats things sometimes and once in a while will pull up a feeling memory from times I’m too young to remember. It’s been hard for me to accept where she is and how this complication attacked when we weren’t looking. I don’t expect that at 70 my mama would show signs of memory loss. Like I said, I haven’t dealt well with it. Visiting your space tonight was no accident. All purpose, all plan. Thank you Jesus for speaking so clearly through Pats words. Amen.

    1. I’m so sorry. The grief of loss attached to dementia is real and it’s painful. It’s a different kind of grief that like you said, “attacks when we weren’t looking”. Give yourself permission to grieve the loss, Lisha. I promise you you’ll find God’s faithfulness and grace wrapped into this hard place. Dance, my friend. God loves you so.

      “Rejoice in hope, be patient in trial, be constant in prayer” Rm 12:12

    1. Thanks for the heads up Lyli, I’ll be sure to pick up Fleming’s book. I really appreciate your kind words here, you’re a voice my heart enjoys listening to. Blessings!

  7. Enjoyed your post as always Pat. This was especially meaningful since it was just last month my mom passed. She also had dementia. Such a heart-breaking thing to watch and deal with, both for her and us! So thankful for your caring heart! It helps when others see and understand your pain.
    Funny, before I experienced this with Mom I didn’t think too much about dementia, just thought people didn’t remember as much, wow, was I wrong. It really takes a toll on the person who is suffering with it. Thanks again Pat for your tender heart!

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