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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

A Blank Mind

I blanked out while driving today. One minute I was happily driving towards the familiar intersection near my house, and the next, I couldn’t remember where I was going.

I started to panic. Everything was familiar, but my destination was missing. I even started to talk to myself.

“Where am I going?” I said out loud, as if I could will myself to remember. “Where am I going?”

Thousands of images and connections flitted through my brain as I tried to make sense of why I had left the house, what I had taken with me, why I had driven the car in this direction, who I was going to meet. The information came back with a sudden clarity of recall and I sighed with unease as I swung the car into the left turn lane with my renewed sense of purpose.

That feeling of being empty, of a large hole where my memory should be, was absolutely frightening. In the past, I’ve experienced the feeling of a curtain descending in my mind behind which a specific word or thought that I’ve been searching for lurks in the shadows. When I pull the curtain open, there’s my word or thought. This time, all I felt was utterly blank. It was as if I was playing a shell game, the elusive card flitting from shell to shell beyond the edge of my comprehension. I was still me, still my whole self with knowledge of who and where I was, but with a vital piece missing.

If that’s how I feel over one small incident, imagine how Mom feels on a daily basis. She wakes up each morning in a place that has now become familiar, but she knows it’s not her home. People come and go around her with alarming frequency. There’s the staff on morning shift, then the staff on afternoon and evening shift, the doctor, social worker, head nurse, physiotherapist, and other staff who wander in and out daily, plus the other residents who she sometimes hates with a vengeance.

The two people she still calls by name are my dad, Jack, and me. It is truly electric when she says my name. Yesterday during our visit she referred to me as her daughter. Remarkable.

And though she seems to have lost her ability to sing on key, it is the music—show tunes and Klezmer, Big Band, the Beach Boys—that lights her up and keeps her present.

I am comforted by these small miracles as we walk along the hallways, her feet shuffling along the floor. I can only hope that my presence brings her back to a place of knowing, at least for a few moments.

As a treat to myself after this and other annoying events in my day, I made a chocolate banana shake. It’s no longer the height of summer, but the sun still shines bright and warm during the day. I slurped down every last drop.

Chocolate Banana Shake

I highly recommend treating yourself to one of these shakes. It works with other fruits, too, but banana is the best.

1 banana, sliced

1 130 gr / 4.5 oz chocolate pudding of your choosing

½ tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

5 ice cubes

1 Tbsp water


Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until the ingredients coalesce into a thick, frothy drink. Add straw, preferably with a mustache, to heighten the fun.

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