I've learnt that it's insulting to them and sounds uncaring if I admit that actually I don't exactly remember their party/favourite aunt/exam success or whatever and I just can't get them to understand why I forget. The reality is that many people with epilepsy, in any of its forms, can suffer with embarassingly poor memory recall.
Usually I let the conversation carry on and hope upon hope that some detail will provide the clue that I need to remind me of the occasion/person. Sometimes it does, sometimes...the memory just isn't going to come back.
My friend, Claire, explains it like this: Imagine our mind as a giant picture puzzle; every time we have a seizure, the jigsaw breaks up and falls to the ground; when we come round, the puzzle rebuilds - but one piece is missing.
The more seizures we have, the more pieces are left out of the picture and we can't choose which pieces they'll be - or, if you like, which memories they represent.
It was really, really, really lucky that when my son and daughter [left] were little, I adored taking pictures - particularly of them. I had no idea that there would come a time (now) when I'd rely on those pictures (nicely catalogued, I must say - also a bonus) to be my memory store and help me relive very special moments.
See? I know how sad and uncaring that sounds. A mother who doesn't remember... Believe me, I'd rather remember than have to look at photographs - and yet there's plenty of stuff I do remember. My system of recall is no system at all! It's as chaotic as the tornardoes that happen in my head.
I'm certainly not talking about selective memory because that phrase, in itself, would suggest I can choose what to remember - which I can't.
Funnily enough, memory has never been a problem with work because at work we're expected to keep organised with lists, schedules and notes.
It would have been excellent if I had been warned, right from the outset, that the same kind of organisation was going to be necessary in my personal life. Doctors I've seen have only wanted to talk about drugs or surgery - never about managing life which, with uncontrolled ep, I'd suggest was key - wouldn't you?
I've explained to friends that my memory struggles but because I have 'behavioural' seizures and not convulsions which are more dramatic to witness, I think my epilepsy is generally perceived as 'not that bad'. All I'd say is: side-effects don't discriminate.
And that's all I needed to say about memory - as far as I remember....