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Mortality

Every year our family goes to Leavenworth in January for a snow weekend.  We always book four two-bedroom units through Worldmark.  We book two and our daughter books two.  It is a popular destination so we book as soon as we can: midnight, 13 months in advance.  In December, I booked our two units for January 2025.  Except, I made a mistake and booked a unit for 2024.  Realizing my error, I went back and cancelled that unit and booked two for 2025.  At least that is what I thought I did. 


Fast forward a month later, to three days before we leave for Leavenworth, and our daughter learns that Carol and I only have one unit booked instead of two.  I must have cancelled the wrong unit.  Now we are one unit short.  All the other units are booked.  Panic city!  What to do?  In the end, it was a first world problem and we all rallied to make lemonade out of lemons.  We had a nice, relaxing, albeit rainy weekend.


This episode caused me to question myself again.  Am I forgetting more?  Do I get confused more easily?  Is Jeopardy getting more difficult?  Am I slower coming up with the answers?  Can I visualize the answers but not come up with the words?  Is it taking me longer to come up with the answers?   YES!  Dylan Thomas says, “Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, rage against the dying light.”  Paul the apostle says, “That is why we never give up.  Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”  (2 Cor. 4:16)


I will continue to fight, as feeble as it may seem.  I will work silly puzzles and memory games; watch Jeopardy and try to answer all that I can; read and test my mind; be active; keep working.  And most important, allow God to renew my spirit.  It may not help my memory, but it will help my outlook.


The golf course here in Palm Springs has three nine hole segments.  The pro shop assigns us the two we are going to play.  I drove out to the far segment only to learn we were starting at the one next to the pro shop, about a mile away.  I had it written down.  I had reminded others the day before.  How could I forget so soon?  What was I thinking?  Am I beginning to lose it?  My mother and her sisters all began suffering from dementia in their late seventies.  Consequently, I’m obsessed with noting my own symptoms: forgetting the names of celebrities or famous historical people; starting a sentence and forgetting the key word at the end; starting a sentence and forgetting the key word at end, but knowing it in Spanish; forgetting where I left something; looking for something in Seattle that I later realize I had left in Palm Springs.  I could go on and on.


In Leavenworth, I shared some of my concerns with our daughters (who are still young).  Of course, my biggest fear was they would now have the evidence to put me in assisted living or a memory care unit.  To my surprise, they all shared their own issues with memory and forgetting things.  Maybe I wasn’t as bad off as I thought.  Nonetheless, Carol and I have begun to double check each other; sharing our appointments and commitments; copying each other on texts and emails; verifying dates and times; writing things down as much as possible.  All this in the hope that between the two of us, we might have one adequate functioning brain.


Though I am still fairly functional, I still obsess over the possibility of dementia.  It was sad watching my mother regress mentally to a young teenager.  It was sad listening to her speak in circles and not make any sense.  It was sad watching her become a burden on my Dad, and seeing how it impacted his health and spirit.  I fear that so much for myself.  I don’t want to become a burden on my family.  And yet, that is what inevitably will happen.  “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life…”  (Rom. 6:23)  Having that hope means everything to me.

 

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