I have memory problems – working-memory deficient dyslexia, resulting in my dependence of my long-term memory. But if something gets coded into my long-term memory, whether it’s a shopping list or a dream or an actual real event, it’s there forever – and it “feels” the same as a memory for a real event.
So I find that, for example, I have a strong memory returning an important form to my son’s school – of giving him the form, of posting it to the school, or handing it in personally at reception – when in fact what I have is only a memory of a reminder to myself that I need to do so, and the form is in fact sitting on the kitchen table, waiting to be signed.
I also have a really lovely memory of having a big grey horse called Whistler, of caring for him and riding him all over our farm as a child and teen. It really hits me in the feels, remembering good old Whistler, and his fondness for carrots, the smell of him, and how I held his big whiskery head when he died of old age.
All a dream, though. Whistler never existed. The last horse we owned was a bay called Ned, who died when I was a baby.
If I’m lucky, I can follow one of the pseudo-memories through my mind until zombies or space aliens turn up, and then I know it was all a dream. But sometimes even that isn’t enough, and I wind up sobbing all over a friend who I last saw being shot by the Chinese Army after they invaded the UK.
My sister is my aide memoire. She’s quite used to me ringing or texting, “Is Aunt So-and-so still alive? Do I need to send a Christmas card?” because I genuinely am not sure if I dreamt the funeral or not. She thinks it’s hilarious, the bitch.