Get the Caregivers' Survival Guide FREE
when you sign-up for the newsletter.

Making Mistakes and Learning to Let Go

I totally blanked yesterday on my 3 PM weekly meeting for coffee with my closest friend.

The appointment was already on my calendar. And I'd already noticed the appointment 1½ hours before and made a mental note that I'd have to leave soon. Then I completely forgot about it until about 4:30.

I was embarrassed, so I called Fred, and launched into this long, convoluted apology. But he interrupted me and said without any rancor, "So, in the future, I'll just have to call you the day before."

"It was already on my calendar," I complained. "It's not going to do much good to be reminded." So he replied, "Well, I guess I'll have to call you an hour before."

He most likely recognized that this was my Alzheimer's acting up. And so, he wasn't really disturbed, that is, he didn't blame me.

But, of course, I blamed myself. And there are a couple of things I'm going to have to learn:

First, my inability to do what is normally expected of a person is going to happen to me over and over. Especially when I feel as normal as I do, I'm always going to wonder whether it's the Alzheimer's or just my carelessness. So I will tend to feel embarrassed.

I'm just going to have to let that go. Mostly, it's not going to be my "fault." I'll have to stop worrying, for instance, that others will blame a carelessness on my part .

Now that's going to be hard. The emotional imperative my entire life has been: YOU DO NOT MAKE MISTAKES. And making mistakes is going to be a huge part of this illness.

It will not be easy to let it go, to acknowledge each time what's happened without feeling upset. But that's going to be the challenge.

One other thing is that my friends will mostly make allowances for me; most of the time they're not going to be pissed off, for they know about the disease. They won't need a long apology to reassure them. So I can allow myself real gratitude for their care. It's hard to be grateful, of course, if you're embarrassed.

So I'll have to learn to be grateful.

This is another of the blessings of this illness. Perhaps it will be easier to let some things go, to have my friends help me let things go.

Editor's note: David's journey with Mild Cognitive Impairment was chronicled in "Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's" an in-depth look at the real lives of families impacted by the Alzheimer's epidemic. His story continues on his personal blog on

Print Email
3 people are discussing this article with 3 comments
An author and former physician, Dr. David Hilfiker was diagnosed in 2012 with a progressive mild cognitive impairment. His doctor thought it was Alzheimer's but additional testing proved this initial diagnosis to be wrong. Now David must learn how to come to terms with the reality of worsening cognitive issues that appear to have no cause.

Free Helpful Guides

Home Care Guide
How to find, hire and manage home care.
Get the home care guide ›
Alzheimer’s Care Guide
Learn from elder care experts, caregivers and patients.
Get your care guide ›
Caregivers' Survival Guide:
Everything you need to care
for an elderly family member.
Get the caregivers' guide ›

Ashburn, VA

Care Providers
VITAS Healthcare
Learn about our end-of-life care
Home Helpers of No. Virginia
Speak with us about your care needs
Stonewall Memory Gardens
Contact us about cemetery arrangements

Everything you need to care for
an elderly family member.
Download your eBook ›
How to find, hire and
manage home care.
Get the home care guide ›
140 characters left

©2015 AgingCare, LLC. All rights reserved.  About Us  |  Advertise with Us  |  Sitemap


The material of this web site is provided for informational purposes only. does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment;
or legal, financial or any other professional services advice. Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.