Well I’m getting near the end of my journey into the past, just 13 days left in Melbourne, but I guess we are always travelling that path, memory. Sitting here in front of the European is something I’ve done many times both before and after coma, a test for my memory. Probably one of the main events here before was my fathers 70th birthday, and after there was yesterday. My father’s bday was dinner downstairs with all siblings and yesterday was coffee downstairs then upstairs at Siglo, previously it took me hours to recall yesterday. There, my memory has indeed improved through this journey.
Dear fellow coma victims, memory can actually work again when prompted by being in places of the distant past. I’m visiting my sister in Redhill, Victoria, Australia, and we just went to places from my childhood. We drove to Flinders, a village on the coast, and I remembered which ways to turn the car to get there. I remembered walking along the beach to the Flinders pier from Point Leo and the golf course when we drove past. In Point Leo I could remember the camp site I previously stayed at many times. It seems to be like everyone told me when I could remember nothing, memory is still there the brain needs to know where it has been moved to. I read a doctors theory that it has a new catalogue and must re-establish the reference. Having gone to many vineyards here Redhill is also now a winemaking region of Australia known best for its Pinot.
Visiting my parents in Paynesville, quite a long way from Melbourne, is an historic event. It proves that the past exists, even for us who have lost it. Speaking about many family occasions and ancestors is profound for me today, I suspect I always enjoyed such conversations because I like the fact that I am German. To hear of distant relatives there like Hedwig, Richard and Augusta really stimulates the imagination having lived there for about a year. Perhaps that was the only good thing to come out of coma, an appreciation for life. Maybe I was a little bored by existence prior, certainly not anymore with so many things to focus on. Memory and walking take the cake. I suspect even my walking has improved while visiting, only slightly but discernibly. I just walked about 10 kilometres. Memory is also challenged, I need to remember who I was. They are my parents after all and probably knew me as a person extremely well. I’ll take their lead during our interaction.
Dear fellow coma victims, it seems memory can return after 4.5 years. Being around places of the distant past stimulates recollection. Neurologists suggest the brain can develop new pathways and perhaps memory can work again.
I’m very tired of mundane conversations around niceties. Just the typical things people say when you meet them. I don’t mean stuff like the weather or topic of interest but self centred egotistical stuff. There are of course many examples of people whose focus went beyond niceties, Kafka and Steiner come to mind. I have apparently always thought that the average person never really considers existence. These thoughts reveal a distant me, apparently I was always troubled by the average Joe. Keep returning to me my former self.
A memory… The picture is of my favourite painting in the NGV, the Melbourne gallery. I like it because it’s a depiction of potato gathering, a fundamental during the time it was painted. I discovered it was called October (Saison d’octobre) 1878 Jules Bastien-Lepage, I always referred to it as the potato gatherers.