8/28/2012

Memory Gone Wrong


She was one of my most outstanding students in Business English. Her prose was clear and well crafted, with careful attention to good grammar. Diligent to a tee, she also liked to verbalize her opinions and always brimmed with good ideas.

Pam* got even better as the term progressed. And I was delighted to have contributed to her development.  

That was last year, when she was a freshman student.

One day this school year, I was surprised to see her being walked around like a treasured guest by a group of her former classmates. Holding her hand, they approached me and asked her in Filipino, "Remember Ms. Chong, our Business English teacher?" (Students are not allowed to speak in any language other than English in our campus.) 

Pam covered her mouth and giggled, then said in Filipino, "Sorry, I forgot how to speak English." 

Her friends alternately revealed dizzying and chilling facts of recent events. 

"Pam had a seizure three months ago."

"Doctors found a tumor in her brain."

"She went through a delicate surgery."

"Then she went into a coma."

"Now she has amnesia."

"She can't recall a word of English." 

I needed a chair to steady my knees. Pam has totally forgotten everything she learned in my class!   

They carefully escorted Pam in and out of classrooms, re-introducing her to former teachers in an effort to jog her memory.

Pam looked exactly the way I remember her—a petite, pretty girl, as fragile-looking as a dresden doll. She was also her usual merry self—quick to smile and prone to giggle.  

But her memory of Business English—the subject I love and painstakingly teach term after term—is gone, totally deleted and trashed from her mind.
 
I have loved ones who, Like Pam, have lost their memory. But they are in their 70's, 80's and 90's, way past their prime. Pam is not even 18!

Now she sees the world with a very limited view, only as far as her memory allows her. Why, Lord?

Shame on me for asking God that question; I know His answer to anyone who asks it: 

"I am with you."

He put together every neuron and fiber in our brain, and only He knows why they fall apart.    

I also know God's answer to the question we ask when something horrible afflicts us, "Why me, Lord?"

"I am with you."

God promised repeatedly to our Bible heroes in the Old Testament through the New Testament, "I am with you." It is also a promise to all those who believe in Him.

Our confidence: when we ask "Why?" in our sorrow, He answers, "I am with You." He cries with us, he feels our pain. He knows exactly how we rottenly feel because He once felt it all, plus more. 

I pray that God may never allow Pam's and our  memory of His grace go wrong.  


*Not her real name

6 comments:

The Dragon Scribe said...

Compelling story which proves that minds forgets, but hearts always remember.I commend her friends for helping her get through this. Friends are really the family we can choose.

Grace D. Chong said...

As I always like to say, friends are forever. Thanks, JP!

Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

So sad, grace! I'm shuffling through my memory of our students and still could not guess who she is. Could you please FB me? With God, nothing is impossible!

Grace D. Chong said...

Yes, will FB you. I am sure you know her well. According to one of her classmates today, she seems to be remembering some English words already. Nothing is impossible with God, indeed!

Olivr said...

this is painstakingly painful. i hope she'll be alright.

Grace D. Chong said...

I hope so, too, Olivr. Join us all in prayers for her memory to come back.