Friday, November 27, 2009

"Forever Today: A True Story of Lost Memory and Never-Ending Love

Clive at the keyboard—his musical powers remain intact.

For my Biological Psychcology class we were supposed to read this article about a man ( a musician pictured playing the piano) who had severe amnesia. It is the most devastating case of amnesia ever recorded: Clive had a brain infection which left him with a memory span of only seconds.

If not being able to preserve new memories wasn't enough, Clive also had retrograde amnesia which deleted virtually all of his past memories.

I found myself incredibly touched as I read about his struggles.

"It was as if every waking moment was the first waking moment. Clive was under the constant impression that he had just emerged from unconsciousness because he had no evidence in his own mind of ever being awake before. . . . “I haven’t heard anything, seen anything, touched anything, smelled anything,” he would say. “It’s like being dead.”' 

I can't even imagine how confusing and lonely this would be. Not knowing when the last time I saw my loved ones, if they were alright or still cared would be heartbreaking. But as I read the article talked about how he was able to become a happier person after a few years of deep depression. Reading about how he and his wife interacted almost made me cry. It reminded me that even through monumental struggles, Heavenly Father will give us a light.

"Nonetheless, a strong emotional bond begins to develop. Clive and Deborah were newly married at the time of his encephalitis, and deeply in love for a few years before that. His passionate relationship with her, a relationship that began before his encephalitis, and one that centers in part on their shared love for music, has engraved itself in him—in areas of his brain unaffected by the encephalitis—so deeply that his amnesia, the most severe amnesia ever recorded, cannot eradicate it."

I'd recommend it to all of you! If you read it let me know what you think.

PS. "Forever Today" is the memoir Clive's wife wrote about him and her experiences after his illness.


  1. so how did he play the piano?
    I mean he can't remember the notes. right?

  2. It's because the part of his brain that could remember that wasn't affected... but if he stopped to think about how to play he couldn't remember. Same thing with remembering where the bathroom was, he could just walk there automatically but if he thought about it whilst he was going there he would just get confused.

    The brain is really quite a complicated thing

  3. That is a good story and should give us all hope that we can find someone as loving as his wife.

  4. That sounds like a beautiful story.
    Thanks for the recommendation!
    And no I am not engaged... not for awhile :)
    But I'll let you know when I am!

  5. WOW. I am always amazed at how Heavenly Father blesses our lives even in the most difficult situations. Thanks so much for the recommendation! This will be perfect for Christmas break!!

  6. hey! yes, DO try them! but only if you already enjoy a good pb&j of course. book sounds so interesting, thanks for sharing!


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