Mom was admitted to hospital for a brief illness, and I was visiting her.
“Hello, how are you today?”
“Hello. My daughter just went off.”
I wasn’t expecting that. “It’s me. I’m your daughter, Mom.”
She looks uncertain, and then, “No,” she says, “My daughter, she just went over there. Can you go and get her?”
I knew she had an earlier visitor, but hadn’t realized she thought that person was me, or so I hope, if she still remembers she had a daughter like me. So I decided to go along, “Oh, she’ll be back in a while.”
It’s really strange and unexpected.
At home, we never go to Mom and ask her, “Do you know who I am?” We assume all is fine if we get a cheery Good Morning! or Hello! The routine exchange of greetings, the signs of familiarity, the ease with which Mom navigates to her regular chair; surely all is well.
Or maybe the problem isn’t Mom, but me. Maybe I’m forgettable. Really.
I once went back to a workplace after a gap of a year. There were a few familiar faces at work that day, but they could not recall me. “Did you work here before? When? Really? No, we can’t remember you” they said. It gave me a turn and my heart pounded. I had a fleeting thought of “Twilight Zone” and then I wondered if I had caused offense and was being purposely “forgotten”.
On thinking back, I think it could be because I was task focused and did not get to know these colleagues personally, or they were task focused and did not see me. Or the turnover of staff was so high that those who stayed did not bother to keep track and remember those who had left.
Whatever, I think I can accept being forgotten. It’s the forgetting I’d rather not have.