I've read psychology studies that say it's a woman thing, this multi-tasking we do on a mental level. I've trained myself to crumple the mental post-its up and throw them away whenever I write the item down on a real live physical list or cross something off my mental to-do list, but even then little brain gremlins are grabbing them from the floor, smoothing them out lovingly and filing them away so that if something happens to the REAL list, I can retrieve the post-it note from the archives.
At any given time, I can tell you what we're out of, what needs to be picked up, which errands are on the agenda for this week, what activities the children have planned, what needs to be done in preparation for upcoming events, whose birthdays are around the corner. All this on top of the unbelievable jumble that is the daily info we couldn't function without: phone numbers, pin codes, where the car keys are, how to get to work, our morning routines, the plot of the book we're reading a chapter at a time, etc. You get the picture.
Little brain gremlins never throw anything away.
Sometimes they misplace things, or they file them in the wrong place, but they're there.
I think that having Alzheimers must be like having your little brain gremlins go on strike. Not only do they walk off the job, but they leave the place a mess, papers strewn everywhere, post-its left wadded and crumpled on the floor. You can't pay them enough to come back and clean up or resume their duties, they refuse all negotiations. They're gone for good, and the wind whistles in the empty spaces.
It's not just the future we fear losing, it's the past.