Is it possible that my grandmother forgot everything?

Is it possible that my grandmother forgot everything?

My grandmother has Alzheimer's disease. Can she have forgotten everything? I'm 14 years old. Two years ago, the condition of my grandmother, who has Alzheimer's disease, got worse. All of a sudden, she did not recognize us anymore. I had just spent holidays at her place. She had told me about her youth and showed pictures. If it is, she does not remember. It scares me to think that we can forget his memories. (Stéphanie, Calais)

Claude Halmos



Thank you for your letter, Stephanie, and for being able to put such just words on a suffering that strikes so many people. You are right. It is terrible that an illness can steal someone's memory, prevent him from recognizing those he loves. It is terrible to see him, dispossessed of himself, become a stranger in a life he can no longer recognize as his own.

Alzheimer's disease is a kind of death before death. And it is all the more difficult to live with as, paradoxically, it demonstrates what makes the essence of a human being - his ability to think, to speak, to remember, and so on. at the very moment when she steals it from the one she knocks.

Authors, moreover, have spoken much better than me - Annie Ernaux, Nadine Trintignant (1) ... - you will probably read them one day. I do not know if your grandmother still remembers the last vacation you had with her. But you lived them together and they were happy and rich for both of you. You have to keep them in you. Your grandmother liked to tell you her past. She had the concern to transmit. She would have been happy to know that one day, in turn, you can tell your children everything she has taught you.

It is the privilege of speaking beings that we are able to continue to live, thanks to words, those who are no longer there or ... more completely there. I wish you a lot of courage.

  1. I'm not out of my night , Annie Ernaux, Gallimard, 1999 and Your hat in the cloakroom , Nadine Trintignant, Pocket, 1998.

Psychoanalyst, author of To speak is to live (Nil), Claude Halmos answers each month to four letters selected from an abundant mail, of which we publish extracts.


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