Lotus Eater

(in progress)

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Homer’s Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek poems. It focuses on the king of Ithaca Odysseus and his 10-year struggle to return home after the Trojan War.

 

In Book IX, there is an adventure· Odysseus and his scouts were beached on an unknown island after nine days of storms during their return from Troy. The local inhabitants invited Odysseus’ men to taste a mysterious fruit. Those who did so, overcame by a blissful forgetfulness, unable to return to their duties. They stayed forever in the Land of the Lotus Eaters…

 

Nowadays, the Land has extended its boarders transforming to a global community around the size of Spain. According the “World Alzheimer Report 2019”, about two thirds of 50 million people with dementia have Alzheimer. One of them is Ermioni. She is my mother.

 

During my 10-year absence from home, the stigma and the negative social connotations associated with people who have Alzheimer, prevented her from seeking early diagnosis when symptoms were present. Now, I am trying to meet her as unbounded wholeness. For me it is not a matter of memory. It’s a matter of remembering and overcoming the spillover stigma, due to which I experience many of the same social and psychological consequences as my mother does. After all, which of us is the real lotus eater?