Aphantasia and mourning


My first post and it’s rather sad, sorry.

My grandad died last week on his 93rd birthday. My father was not close to his parents so we didn’t really see them very much and I don’t have photos or videos of me with them. My Nanny died ten years ago and I’ve been trying to remember her and him. I remember thinking I miss her laugh but I can’t remember what that was like.

As well as just wanting to get that off my chest, I guess I’m hoping other people with aphantasia have something they do to help remember people they have loved and lost and would be willing to share?

Most of my memories come from remembering something I told myself to remember, they are little more than echoes or stories.


Thanks for reading up to here,

All the best


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How they made me feel throug out my life is how I remember them that I have lost. Some of the strongest feelings come from moments of growth or understands we shared. I have never heard nor seen them as I remember them but with my eyes open I can sorta see there face superimposed in my thoughts.

I’m so sorry for your loss! I undestand what that feels like, having lost my father to cancer, though it was some years ago.

I never felt badly about needing to look at photographs to remember what deceased friends and family look like because I never, until this past month, even knew that "seeing" people or other things in your mind was even possible. Well, clearly it’s not for you nor for me.

So my memories of my father are thoughts and photo books. That’s it.

Hi Charlie,

I am also sorry for your loss. I dont have the ability to remember my loved ones, or the happiness I felt with them. They are just gone, but I also can’t feel the pain that I felt when I first learned of their loss. I keep electronic picture frames in my home with scrolling pictures of my family at all ages and beautiful places I have been and everyday I enjoy re-enjoying them.

I know I loved my grandpa and that is comforting. I also know that my grandpa would want me to live my life in the present moment and not caught up in the past. Since I can’t possibly live in the past, I am blessed. some days it makes me sad, but a benefit of my symptoms is that I can move forward and live life how he would have wished.

That is what helps me.


The lack of memory sounds like SDAM. From the groups I am in, anecdotally, it seems that most (though not all) people with SDAM have aphantasia, while about half of aphants don’t have SDAM. I have both, am mindblind in all 5 senses, and have no inner monologue, so my mind is very quiet, and when my husband, whom I adore, leaves the room, it’s as if he ceased to exist. I dread the thought of his dying, as I wouldn’t be able to summon his smell, touch, taste, voice, or appearance…

I have certain memories because at the time I tell myself to concentrate very hard, and to be sure to remember this moment. It is just sporadic moments, though – I can’t remember a whole day, or even an hour, just snapshots. Which I know, but can’t see.

I also have trouble remembering loved ones or beloved pets. My father died back in 2017 and I think subconsciously I love video games because he was the one to introduce me to them. I can imagine any of the 5 senses so I get very sad or annoyed when I want to remember what they sounded like or what they even look like (I know how they look but as I said above I can’t see images). I just have to see a picture of them or a video I have and just cope with it. 

also just curious, but do you have trouble empathising for people?

Hi Charlie

Yes this resonates with me too.  I feel like I am missing tangible memories of lost loved ones.  But if I really sit down and think about the person, I realise I do have memories, it is just that they don’t come with images or sounds.  Looking though old photos also helps a lot to trigger memories.

So now I am now making a concerted effort to take lots of photos of people and places .  I see this akin to a useful tool or prosthesis like a hearing aid or eye glasses that help overcome a deficit.