Wednesday, February 12, 2020

From the Ashes


Recently, I’ve been thinking about how our lowest moments give us the opportunity to rise from the ashes. We can emerge as something new from something that has been destroyed.

I helped celebrate the first service at our new church building. The historic church was destroyed by fire in 2016. Unable to rebuild in the same location, a new site was chosen for a new “traditional” church. Through faith and hope, a beautiful structure metaphorically rose from the ashes.

I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t felt his or her world is in a shambles from time to time. When someone receives a terminal diagnosis, they feel the burden of ashes. It takes determination and optimism to rise above the ashes and continue living. I have seen amazing people who have received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and immediately kicked into action to advocate for research dollars. Often, these advocates are aware that should a treatment be discovered, it would be too late for them.

Chronic disease creates a heap of ashes. Dealing with pain every day, wears a person down. Arthritis can make every joint in your body ache, and make movement a challenge. Especially, when a disease has no cure, and you know your health is only going to worsen and never get better. It is hard to see a loved one suffer, and it can foster a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness, if you let it.

Life can change in a heartbeat. Couples marry. Babies are born. We can feel so blessed at times, and at other times wonder where it all went wrong. Life is full of surprises, and a rollercoaster of separations and reunions.

When death separates us from those we love desperately, it takes fortitude to overcome the sorrow. There is no time limit on grief.

The trick is to build on the ashes instead of being buried beneath them. It’s a lot of hard work to wallow in self-pity and sorrow. Life is certainly more enjoyable when we concentrate on the good times and not the sad times.

When I think about ashes, I think about campfires. That makes me think about Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. I think about early morning coffee, breakfast cooked on the camp stove, hiking, and animal watching. The memories are like a thousand wings lifting my spirits on the dreariest and saddest days.

As long as I walk this earth, I hope to rise from the ashes of loss by appreciating what I still have. Life will be what I make of it, not what it makes of me.

Copyright © February 2020 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ


Friday, January 31, 2020

My Right Hand



Sometimes we refer to the indispensable people who support our work as a “right hand.” I have been called a “right hand” and have had people who served as my “right hand.”

In addition to the metaphorical right hand, those of us who are right-handed have a physical right hand that we count on for many tasks: typing, writing, removing medicine bottle lids, etc. The uses for our right hand are endless.

The Alzheimer’s type of disease Jim had (corticobasal ganglionic degeneration) caused a symptom known as alien limb. In Jim’s case, the limb involved the right arm. He eventually quit using his right hand and it was clutched into a fist. Although we used every technique we could, his hand became infected and his little finger had to be amputated. Jim had lost his ability to play the guitar, but still it comforted me that the hand he used to fret the guitar was still usable.

Problems with hands was brought to the forefront of my attention when I began to have difficulties with my right hand. Each morning, I’d have to work out the kinks before my hand was useful. I kept thinking that the problems would go away, so I limited activities that left my hand curled up and in pain. I took ibuprofen and toughed it out for a few months. Then, my ring finger curled down, and when I tried to straighten it, it snapped into place.

My family doctor sent me to an orthopedic specialist. After x-rays, I found out that more was wrong than right about my hand. He reeled off the problems: trigger finger, bone spurs, arthritis, ganglion cysts, and carpal tunnel disease.

“I’ll give you a cortisone shot,” he said. “It about 48 percent of the time.” Okay, I was game. He sprayed the palm of my hand and injected the cortisone.

“Ouch!” I was not prepared for the pain. “That hurt a lot worse than the shots in my knees,” If my hand could have talked, it would have been screaming.

“You have more nerves in your hand,” he explained. No, joke. Not being a medical professional, I had not considered that.

He put a carpal tunnel brace on my wrist. “You need to wear this when you sleep and when you drive long distances.” After discussion of what constituted long distances, I told him I traveled that far five times a month. Our family band practiced two times a month and we played at nursing homes another three days a month.

“I bet they really enjoy that,” he said. “What instrument do you play?”

“Ukulele,” I said. I told him that reluctantly I had started singing. He wanted to know what I sang. I explained we sang a variety of genres and that one of my favorites was “Cowboy’s Sweetheart.”

“Do you yodel?” he asked. I shouldn’t have been surprised that a cowboy poet would recognize Patsy Montana’s old time hit. I explained that I only yodeled at the end of the song.

“Yodel for me!” he said.

I gave a brief yodel, and it brought a big smile to his face. Guess I can mark yodeling in a doctor’s office off my bucket list.

As for the hand, for the first three days I thought I’d made a bad, bad mistake. Then, like magic, it’s a whole lot better. Makes me feel like yodeling just for the heck of it.

Copyright © January 2020 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ


Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Eyes Have It

We have entered the year of perfect vision: 2020. This is a year of cautionary notes, specifically not to shorten the year to 20 on checks or legal documents. It makes perfect sense since the date could be changed to 20 whatever.

I’m sure that when I was a kid that the magically sounding year of 2020 seemed so far in the future as to not be on my radar. In fact, the thought of 20/20 vision wasn’t on my radar either. I’m not sure what happened, but I lost my ability to see so slowly that I never even noticed it until I was in 7th grade. That year, our teacher for some crazy reason didn’t want us to work the problems in our math book so she wrote different problems on the blackboard. I could see she was writing on the board, but couldn’t make out the numbers. Eventually, another student and I sat at the teacher’s desk so that we could read the problems.

That summer, I got my first pair of glasses. The optometrist, a wise old man, said he was not going to correct my vision to 20/20. “You have gotten so used to not seeing that you quit trying.” Sure enough, when I went back two weeks later, my corrected vision was 20/20. I can remember being amazed that it was possible to see individual leaves on the trees.

Our eyes open up the world around us and allow us to see both the beautiful and ugly. Paulo Coelho said, “The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden; and like a mirror they also reflect the person looking into them.”

Eyes Show Emotion: Eyes are our most expressive facial feature. Before I had my glasses, I squinted a lot. Why? Narrowing the eyes helps us focus and see more details. Narrowed eyes are often associated with discrimination, disgust, and suspicion. Wide eyes are associated with fear or awe.

Eyes Reflect Mood: If you are sad, it shows in your eyes. Happiness can cause a twinkle in your eye. Eyes are the outward mirror of the inward self. Eyes can be angry. They can be filled with pity, empathy, or love. They can show exasperation—eye roll. Even if we hold the rest of our face still, eyes can tell on us.

Eyes Are a Clue to Truthfulness: Studies show that the eyes can reveal thinking, lying, or being honest. If you close your eyes when you are conversing with someone, you may either be taking a short nap (because they are boring), or you may be connecting with your inner self. Psychologists say that if a person looks up and to the right, they are lying. However, if you look up and to the left, you are as honest as Abe. Theoretically. I can’t help but think that a habitual liar will look you straight into your eyes and fabricate away. Don’t you think they read too?

Eyes Indicate Physical Health: Diabetes, stress, heart problems, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and retinal detachment can cause changes in your vision. Sudden blurry vision could indicate a migraine or a stroke. Grave’s disease can cause bulging eyes. We’ve hear of ring around the collar (old commercial for those of you under forty), but if you are under forty and have a ring around your cornea, you should have your cholesterol checked. If the whites of your eyes turn yellow (jaundice), you could have liver problems. Twitching eyelids could be from stress, too much caffeine, MS, or as I have personally noticed—lack of sleep. And, of course, red teary eyes could be from allergies.

Can a Simple Eye Test Detect Alzheimer’s? Studies indicate that changes in the blood vessels in the retina appear to be linked to dementia. By using optical coherence tomography angiograpy (Octa),  researchers at Duke University, North Carolina, compared the retinas of 39 people with Alzheimer’s and 37 who had mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to 133 people with no brain impairment. They discovered that people with Alzheimer’s had fewer blood vessels and reduced blood flow the other two groups. Both the people with MCI and Alzheimer’s had a thinner layer of nerve fibers that surround the optic nerve. The study was small, and so far, the eye test to detect Alzheimer’s isn’t simple, or available at this time.   

When it comes to noting the motives, truthfulness, moods, and health of those around you, look into their eyes. The next time you look in the mirror, examine your own eyes for anything new or different. For many reasons, the eyes have it.


Copyright © January 2020 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ

https://www.nhs.uk/news/neurology/eye-test-can-pick-alzheimers-study-claims/

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Stuff that Makes Me Think

As I was putting away my Christmas decorations, I wondered why it seemed to take twice as long to undecorate as it does to decorate. Stuff to tumble around in my mind.

And I’ve often wondered why it takes so much longer to drive to a vacation destination that it does to get home. I know that when my mom, sisters, and I go on our girls’ trip, we often make side trips on the way to see special places. Once we head home, we generally make a beeline. That partially explains how that works, but I’ve noticed that trips to Kansas City or St. Louis seem the same with no sightseeing along the way. Is it because we feel we are “almost home” when we get into familiar territory?

Stuff that makes me think: How can people raised under the same circumstances look at the world so differently? Why do some members of the same family have different prejudices, political leanings, and different standards of morality?

More stuff … Why do some good people die young, while lowlifes live to a ripe old age? Why do children have cancer? Why do some people lose everything through no fault of their own, while others have the Midas touch?

Why are lives disrupted by horrible diseases like Alzheimer’s? How could a person who had many talents, intelligence, and a wacky sense of humor lose it all due to a disease that scattered plaques and tangles throughout the brain? How could Jim lose his ability to play his guitar and sing, when that had been a major part of his life since childhood?

Why do some of us think about everything and wonder why life is as it is, instead of its full potential? Yet, others waste no thought on abstract ideas? Why do some of us see ourselves as a small piece of a puzzle, and others believe they are the puzzle maker?

I wonder why some of us are empathetic to the less fortunate, and others care only about “they selves” as a country song says. Are narcissists and sociopaths more common, or do we just realize that’s what they are now?

As I’ve gotten older, I notice that time manages me instead of me managing time. I used to try to get things done as soon as possible, but now it seems that I won’t do today what can be put off until tomorrow.

When Jim was in the nursing home, people often asked me how I managed to work fulltime, take care of Jim every day, get a college degree, and volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association. Could I have had magically had more time then than I do now?

Sometimes, thinking about stuff can make me tired. The good news is that my mind is still working. The bad news is that the rest of my body is having a hard time keeping up with the thoughts and ideas flowing through the neurotransmitters of my brain.  

Copyright © January 2020 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ

Monday, December 30, 2019

Runaway Train of Time


It’s hard to think that another year is nearing the end. I shouldn’t be surprised since time seems to pass by faster and faster each day. Sometimes I feel like time is a runaway train, and I’m barely hanging onto the caboose.

On Christmas day, I was walking my dog and reflecting on Christmases past. For some reason, a memory popped up out of the blue that hadn’t crossed my mind for years. I was thinking about how Jim didn’t enjoy all the Christmas brouhaha. In his mind, Christmas had lost its true meaning as it became more commercialized and more pressure to buy gifts.

Jim’s family decided to exchange names one year, and Jim didn’t want any part of it. Anyway, I participated, never suspecting what my gift was going to be. Jim’s Grandpa Tubbs drew my name, and you’ll have to admit the man had a sense of humor. He watched expectedly as I opened my gift. He had given me an orange, transparent negligee. I’m not sure my red face went too well with the orange!

My dog thought I was a little bit crazy when I started laughing out loud, but I found a lot of humor in remembering that unusual gift.

This time of year, we tend to reflect on the year in review—or sometimes, a lifetime in review. Each year has its challenges, tragedies, and triumphs. Families grow and families shrink. Our circle of friends and supporters may increase, or they may fade away.

Sometimes, when we are spreading the merry and bright messages, the words of cheer only serve to bring out the sadness of the holidays. For those who are missing their loved ones or have health problems, the holidays can be an endurance test. Enduring and enjoying are worlds apart.

In many ways, I’m in a better place than I was this time last year, but in other ways, this year has brought a new set of troubles. All I can say is while bad things occurred this year, I feel that if I kept score, I’d find that more good things happened.

A lot of people make resolutions this time of the year. I never found a resolution that I couldn’t break within a week. If I were to look at the year ahead and decide what I would like to see change, I can think of one obvious thing. I’d like to spend more time playing and less time working. It’s not unusual for me to spend an entire day without a chance to sit down—and when I sit down, I’m often at my computer working on one project or another.

A goal I set last year was to get more sleep. Well, that hasn’t worked out. I stay up until midnight, day after day, and then often wake before the alarm goes off. To top it all off, if I have one good night’s sleep, I have another that is restless. I believe this is a left over from the days when Jim wandered at night. The doctor finally gave him a sleeping pill, but that only worked for about four hours. Then, we were both up, Jim trying to leave, and me determined to make him stay.

Living human beings are survivors. We each have fought our own battles, suffered unbearable losses, and picked ourselves up and dusted off despair. We relegate the hurt to a special part of our brains and go about the business of surviving.

As time passes by, living life to the fullest is the best way to honor our loved ones who are no longer with us. I hope that while I hang on to the runaway train of time, I open my eyes and enjoy the glorious view for I will never pass this way again.  

Copyright © December 2019 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ

Friday, December 20, 2019

Fifty Years Ago


Fifty years ago today, Jim and I were married in a tiny chapel on Fort DeRussy in Honolulu, Hawaii. This whole marriage thing was quite the adventure.

Jim had been in Vietnam eight months and was due for R&R. He floated the idea that he could take R&R in Hawaii and we could get married. Once he got the approval, the only obstacle was money. I was a college student, and Jim had been sending his check to his mom and dad who were in dire financial straits.

Never to be deterred, Jim took what little money he had and won enough at craps game to buy my ticket and reserve a hotel room at the Ilikai.

I set off to Hawaii on a cold December day after just reading the book Airport. While waiting to board the plane I joked with my mom and dad about which of the passengers looked like a bomber. Well, the joke was on me when we made an emergency landing in Denver. Of course, they didn’t even tell us we were landing, but it became obvious as the ground got closer and closer. We landed on an apparently abandoned runway being followed by fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, and taxis. After spending several hours in a hanger, they finally told us that someone had called in a bomb threat for our flight.

They put us on a different plane and sent us on our way. When our flight got to San Francisco, we flew in circles for an hour above a thunderstorm until we were cleared to land. My connecting flight was long gone. I sat in the airport for the rest of the day waiting for a plane delayed by a snowstorm in New York.

Jim and I were supposed to get married on Friday, December 19, but it was late at night before I made it to Hawaii. The next day, we took a taxi up into the mountains to get our marriage license. Except, my family doctor used a form for my blood test that had additional information on it, but he only filled out the part required in Missouri. It had all the info needed in Hawaii, but she couldn’t accept an incomplete form.

Her husband drove us to a clinic in downtown Honolulu that transferred the info to a Hawaiian form. Then, we went back to the mountains to get the license. Guess what? The chapel closed at noon and we couldn’t make it back in time. Jim used his persuasive line of gab to get the chaplain to wait for us. When we came rushing through the door at one o’clock and handed him the license, he had his employees witness our signatures and excused them to go home.

I had never dreamed of a big wedding, but I certainly never thought I’d have a wedding with three people, including me and the groom!
Fifty years ago today, started the life that was to be mine for thirty-five years. We lived in poverty for several years, but eventually had a decent income. We had ups and downs, fights and abundant love.

We had a lot of years of “sickness” and not too many of health. I can’t say I wouldn’t have changed a thing, because I’d have definitely changed Jim’s mental and physical health, and would have skipped the dementia part completely. Still, the family that I love dearly today is possible because a couple of kids, who against all odds, got married on this day in 1969. Smiles to heaven, Jim. I am a much better person for having known your wholehearted love and loving you to the moon and back.

Copyright © December 2019 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Where's the Skillet?


I read recently that everyone has a favorite burner on the stove, but don’t talk about it. Not only do we have a favorite burner, we have a favorite skillet. In fact, we can’t seem to fix breakfast without that skillet.

A few weeks ago, I inhaled a few cups of coffee and prepared to fix breakfast. I opened the cabinet to drag out “the” skillet, and although the shelf had other skillets, it didn’t have the breakfast skillet. I picked up the larger skillets, as if the smaller one could be hiding beneath them. But no, it wasn’t there. Breakfast was on hold while the search is on.

It seems that more and more objects have been disappearing lately. Makes me wonder if poltergeists are playing tricks on us.

Missing, missing, missing. After a thorough search of the kitchen, I found the skillet—not in the normal place, but in with the pots.

“You’re losing it,” my husband said. That was before he tore up his office  looking for two expensive missing program discs. Which, I might add are missing to this day.

“At least it wasn’t in the refrigerator,” I defended myself. I remember that misplacing items are a sign of normal aging if you find it in a halfway logical place. If you find it in a really weird place, it might be Warning Sign #7 that you might have Alzheimer’s.

I can just tick off the missing: gloves, coats, favorite shirts, sock mates, my seasonal clothing, lids for storage bowls, and just this morning a container of fruit. I had just fixed the fruit and couldn’t figure out what I had done with it. After a search, I found it on the bathroom counter where I had gone to turn off hubby’s razor that he left running.

Ok. Now, I admit that (a) that wasn’t a logical place for the container of fruit, but (b) I was able to retrace my steps. Score one for me, (a) is a sign of Alzheimer’s, but (b) is normal aging. I call that a wash, wouldn’t you?

I’ve discovered there is a rule of lost and found. All you have to do is replace an item to find the original you lost. I lost my nail clippers—well, more like several clippers—but I lost my last ones. I need to keep my nails clipped to play my ukulele. I was on my way to practice our program for the nursing homes, so I stopped at Dollar General to buy nail clippers. Of course, a few days later, I found a nice (gold plated) set of clippers in a drawer. 

The lost is usually found—eventually—even if you can’t retrace your steps. Last year, I could only find my ugly Christmas sweater, but this year, I found the rest of my Christmas sweaters in a downstairs closet. My husband had the serial numbers for his two programs so he was able to get electronic copies to put on his new PC. As for the original programs, maybe I should check the freezer.

Copyright © December 2019 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ
 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Conversations


When Jim developed dementia, one of the things I missed the most was our conversations. No matter what the daily schedule, we always took time to drink a cup of coffee and talk. Most of the time, our first cup of coffee was in bed propped up on our pillows.

Our first indication that Jim had dementia was the day he couldn’t remember his social security number or his birth date. To forget any date, much less his birth date, set off the alarms in my head.

At first, he still looked and sounded the same. As time passed, he became vague in his speech and searched for words for common objects. He often became frustrated when he couldn’t communicate.

Gradually, our conversations became less meaningful until after a few years, Jim developed aphasia and became mostly nonverbal. He used what I refer to as “stock” phrases. Some of his favorites were “right here, but I can’t find it” or “I have no idea” or “is that right?” and “you’re going the wrong way.” I saw him have conversations with strangers, and he inserted enough “is that right’s” that the person had no idea that Jim had dementia.

After you are around someone with dementia, you are more attuned to the language changes that indicate an underlying neurodegenerative disorder. Subtle changes in speech may occur up to a decade before the onset of dementia, or as in Jim’s case, a short time. Researchers are using speech patterns as a way to identify at risk individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and those who are in the earliest stages of dementia.

1.      Rambling and Non-specific Speech. People with MCI may use more words than necessary when they speak. Individuals in the early stages of dementia will have trouble finding the correct words, talk in simplified sentences, and make more grammatical errors than normal. Word finding may lead to calling objects by the wrong name, for example calling an apple an “orange.” It can also lead to a lengthy description instead of a word. When they can’t recall the word “book,” they may say, “You know, that thing with words and those things you turn…”
2.      Formulaic Speech. Formulaic speech is a more scientific version of what I referred to earlier as Jim’s “stock” phrases. Using a lot of common phrases repetitively such as “you know what I mean” when a person cannot express what he or she is trying to say.
3.      Weak Language. A person with dementia may start to speak in fragmented sentences and not finish complete thoughts. They stop using less common words and use fewer meaningful adverbs or adjectives.
4.      Not Understanding Written Language. Along with speech problems, persons with cognitive problems may have trouble reading. They might be able to recite written words, or even read a book, but not fully understand what they have read. Jim was a prolific reader and we were regulars at our local independent bookstore. I began to notice that Jim sometimes bought a duplicate or triplicate of the same book. He was reading, turning the pages, but he couldn’t follow the storyline.
5.      Unusually Rude Speech. As language skills erode, frustration can make a person with dementia rude. If the part of the brain is damaged that filters thoughts from being spoken aloud, the brain doesn’t censor what comes out of the mouth. After Jim quit smoking and stores relegated smokers to benches near the entrance of the store, Jim would shake his finger at complete strangers and say, “You better quit that damn smoking.”
6.      Repetitive questions. Individuals with dementia often use repetitive phrases or ask the same question multiple times. When short term memory is affected, they may not realize they are repeating themselves. As annoying as it is, it is best to validate the person with an acknowledgement they have spoken. 

The stage of dementia and the type of dementia affects communication to different degrees and in different ways. It is sad that a degenerative brain disease can so adversely affect a person who was once highly intelligent and a great conversationalist.

When I watch old videotapes of Jim, I realize how much I missed his jokes, observations, and singing during the last several years of his life. But most of all, I missed our conversations over our morning coffee.

Copyright © November 2019 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Remember, Remember


When I was a kid, someone gave us a set of the World Book of Knowledge. I was always looking for something to read and found the books much more interesting than the backs of cereal boxes.

Although the books were full of history, science, and various other subjects for school age children, I always started (and usually ended) with the literature section in the middle. The literature section had stories and poems. I memorized dozens of poems and one came in handy this month.

I made an appointment and recited, “Remember, remember the fifth of November.” I knew I had said that twice. Unfortunately, I couldn’t recall what I was going to remember. When I flipped the wall calendar to the new month, the fifth of November was a blank square. My PC was downstairs in the safe, and my phone had a dead battery.

I puzzled over the situation. I knew it was about time for my hair appointment, and sure enough when the battery came to life—there it was. This morning when I turned on my PC, I saw the other reminder. I can now get my second pneumonia shot. Well, I didn’t rush into get my shot, but I kept the hair appointment.

Rhyming poetry is a good way to memorize information. It’s how I used to remember how many days were in each month until I worked for more than thirty years plugging in the last day of the month for our reports. I no longer had to say, “Thirty days has September, April, June, and November…”  Then there’s the “i” before “e” poem, although that one is pretty worthless because of all the exceptions.

Being able to remember important events is something all of us strive to do. Life can get so busy at times, that I often think of events after it’s too late. My phone does its best to remind me of everything I need to do. I even have my grocery list on it. I’m not sure how reliable my memory is without all the bells and whistles of my electronic calendars.

Being forgetful is something that concerns me. Alzheimer’s scares me more than any other disease. I shudder to think that an irreversible, progressive disease could erode my skills, erase my memories, and thrust me into a world of confusion.

I can’t imagine anything sadder than not recognizing my grandchildren. If I lost the ability to read or write, it would change who I am as a person.

With Jim, the thing I hated the most was that we had to place him in a Special Care Unit. He was locked inside, and it hurt my heart that he lost the freedom he had risked his life for in Vietnam. That Jim spent the last decade of his life in a faraway place is one of life’s unexplained mysteries. Bad things should happen to bad people not to good people.

The “Serenity Prayer” encourages us to accept what we cannot change. I have come to realize that what-ifs and could have beens only steal my joy, and need to be banished forever. I want to change the things I can, and know that I certainly need wisdom to make that happen.

Copyright © November 2019 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ

Monday, November 4, 2019

In Remembrance

At church, I sat behind the man who had been our family doctor until he retired in 2012. As we greeted each other, he said, “I didn’t recognize you at first.” That should have been my clue to tell him my name, but I didn’t get a chance before we started singing. After all, we had one family doctor and he had hundreds of patients, so that didn’t surprise me too much.

It was communion Sunday, and our associate pastor quoted the passage where Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

As we returned to our seats after communion, doc turned around and said, “Are you still Mrs. Fisher?”

“Yes,” I said. “I remarried, but kept my name.”

“I remember Jimmy,” he said. “Your name is Linda, right?” I nodded. “It’s a shame that you both had to go through that.”

We finished services with a benediction and our final song. As we were walking out, he said, “You know, Jimmy won’t look the same when we get to heaven, but we will know him.”

I could feel tears welling in my eyes, and I said, “I know he will be whole again.”

When I dream of Jim, he doesn’t have dementia. When I think of Jim, I want to remember him as he was before dementia, and sometimes I do. Sometimes, I think of how life changed so drastically when he began forgetting how to remember. He had a phenomenal ability to recall memories, or to reminisce, as his brother Bob called it.

It is safe to say that I think of Jim every day. Sometimes, the thoughts are fleeting and other times they hit me hard. I’ve lost other loved ones that I think of often, but not that I think of on a daily basis. 

This morning, I was going to town and had some anxious thoughts about what the day was going to bring. Then, a song came on the radio that immediately took me back to a different time. The song I was hearing, “Cinderella,” made me think of Jim, strumming his guitar, and singing the song to me. He would sing, “Lindarella.” The remembrance made me both sad and happy.

Throughout life, we find moments we’d just as soon forget, but those little snippets of memory can enrich our lives if we let them. It is our past that makes us who we are today. Who we are and what we do today will be tomorrow’s memories, so we want to make them worthwhile.

Copyright © November 2019 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ