Forget To Remember

St. Yohanes Berkhmans Todabelu Mataloko
English Corner – Book Corner

This book is about a crazy old woman named Sarah, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The book is written by Alan Malay, and published by Cambridge English Readers.

Sarah loses her memory almost completely. She cannot remember even her own daughter, or house, or even her own room. She has to be accompanied twenty-four-seven to prevent bad accidents.

She has two daughters, Jan Summers as the eldest, and Kate Ogilvie, her younger daughter.

Jan feels exhausted taking care of Sarah who can do anything unconsciously, which can really cause disaster to the whole family.

Jan cannot reach higher education. She is even jobless. Her daughter, Cindy, has just recovered from drug addiction.

Life is hard, even to survive. It turns out to be more unbearable because they have to take care of Sarah.

Jan asks Kate, her younger sister, who is a professor of law to help take care of Sarah, their mother, for a while. Kate’s husband, Hugh, is a successful businessman.

However, they drop Sarah back to Jan’s house simply  because they cannot stand living together with this crazy old woman.

For Jan, Kate and Hugh have lost their human feeling. They have no human heart. They think only of money. They are selfish. They even want to ‘use’ Sarah to earn money.

It is Cindy who treats Sarah respectfully. When Sarah celebrates her 80th birthday, Cindy takes Sarah to the beachside, which makes Sarah feel that she is a human being with invaluable dignity, like a member of a royal family.

The story ends with Sarah who dies peacefully and happily, and the happy ending lives of Jan and Cindy. How about Kate and Hugh? Their lives end up in ruin!

This book is really compelling. It’s full of intrigues up to the very end.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are serious diseases that can mess up the lives of the aged.

But more dangerous than those diseases is the loss of the human heart, which makes people unable to respect and love others, and makes the lives of others unbearable.

A ‘nene’ from Flores

Sarah suffers a lot because of Alzheimer’s and dementia. But when she is treated as a human being with dignity, she ends her life happily and peacefully.

“What goes around comes around”, says a proverb.

We can see the trail of this proverb in the lives of Jan and Cindy, and, to see from the opposite angle, in the lives of Kate and Hugh.

And, worldly wealth and success don’t always make us better as human beings.

The one who is considered an outcast and powerless in the society may have a glorious and loving human heart, which makes life meaningful, glorious, and dignified.

What a very good lesson to learn!

(Nani Songkares)