Monday, January 22, 2018

Sweet Memories

The first thing I saw on my phone this morning was a video in my “memories.” That simply means that I had posted the video in the past. The video of Jim and his brother Billy singing “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was posted in 2015.

When these memories pop up, you are given an option to share. I hadn’t even gotten out of bed this morning when I shared the video. At night, I turn the sound off on my phone so I didn’t listen to the video before I shared it. Besides, I had to get up and around to have breakfast and go to line dancing exercise class.

After a good workout this morning at line dancing, I chatted with a few of my friends as I made my way to my car. I took my phone out of my purse to check for text messages. I was expecting a list of items to get at Walmart since we tend to make every trip to town count.

While I had my phone in hand, I decided to listen to the video. Soon Jim’s voice filled my heart as memories flooded back. I thought about all the jam sessions. I smiled at the memory of the house bursting with company and the sound of guitars and harmony. Happy memories and sad longings flitted through my mind. Happy won out as the video finished. I was glad to have this reminder of our younger days, before we knew our future held the unimaginable.

I fastened my seatbelt and headed to Walmart. I called Harold on my hands-free phone to see if we needed anything besides milk and eggs. Somehow, I knew there had to be other items to add to the list.

After he thought for a few minutes, Harold started naming off item after item. “I’m driving and you know how my memory is,” I said. “I’ll forget half of what you told me.”

“Just go down every aisle and that will remind you.” Thank goodness, he couldn’t see me roll my eyes. I avoid all the aisles I can.  As soon as I parked my car, I found an old sales receipt and started listing everything I could remember.

I picked up the eggs and was headed for the dairy section, when a Walmart employee paused in unpacking a box to say, “Excuse me. May I ask you a question.”

“Sure,” I said. I pushed my cart out of the way of the other shoppers.

“Is your last name Fisher?”

“Yes, it is.”

She smiled. “I took care of your husband!” She went on to ask me what I was doing now, and I told her I was remarried and retired.

“Jim was one of the first people I took care of at the nursing home,” she said. “You know, I still remember how you were there every evening to feed him.”

I told her I was working on a memoir about Jim. “I turned on a tape recorder on my way home each night and talked about how things went.” She and I said our goodbyes. “I’m really glad you told me who you were,” I said.

As I headed to the checkout, I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about all the people who touched our lives. Jim passed away more than twelve years ago, and people stop me from time to time to let me know they still remember him.

It is understandable that Jim’s indelible memory will forever be in his family’s minds and hearts, but amazing how many others his life touched. In the end, instead of erasing Jim, dementia ensured he would never be forgotten.

Copyright © January 2018 by L.S. Fisher


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