Today is a Good Day
A couple of months ago, I was not shocked when I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I had known something was not right for quite a while.
Little things like paying attention, learning new skills, multi-step processes, and critical thinking were starting to become difficult.
My wife was the first to notice this. "I don't remember" became a common phrase in my vocabulary, thrown around like an afterthought.
I don't remember
"Did you pay the car payment?" I don't remember.
"Did you fold the clothes I put in the dryer?" I don't remember.
"Did you clean the cat box today?" I forgot.
"What did the vet say at the visit today?" I forgot to take her.
This has become an increasingly common occurrence. It happens more often than not, and my family also notices it. When I forget what I was saying or talking about, they have learned to wait patiently with smiles on their faces for me to pick up where I left off or brush it off with another "I don't remember." That frequently occurs too.
The feelings of gratitude
The funny thing is, while I may not remember what I was saying or supposed to be doing, I definitely remember the feeling of embarrassment and incompetence for a long time after.
I know in time, I won't remember that either. So, for now, I have decided to focus on the positive feelings. The feelings of gratitude for the life and family I am blessed with, the laughs, and the good times we have had, knowing there are still more to come.
I will savor those little moments when nothing out of the ordinary is going on, but it is the most precious moment in time... In the moment.
Embracing the moments
We have family dinners in our gang. We try to do it regularly, but sometimes life gets in the way. Schedules don't work, something comes up, or we skip it - but we try to stick to it.
This week my daughter Jenna hosted it. Everyone was there. It was loud, and everyone was laughing and talking over each other, and the grandbaby was getting into everything, the TV was going. You know, that comfortable chaos we all take for granted.
I looked around the room and prayed, "Lord, if I'm going to forget the details, I want to savor the moments."
With Alzheimer's, every moment counts
The one thing I enjoy the most and am still perfect at is loving and caring for my grandson.
He is the joy of my life, and the great thing about him is he doesn't need me to impress him. He doesn't ask me to do hard things I can't accomplish anymore. He wants me to be with him, play with him, love him - and that I am the best at!
Time is precious. Every moment counts.
Feelings of gratitude
I have an appreciation for the little things that I think is lost on people who don't know their time is limited. They think they have forever.
Those of us with early-onset Alzheimer's know what is coming. So, I live each day intentionally. I may not be caring for my little nuggets in the NICU, teaching classes, or caring for kiddos, but I will care for my family until I can't.
I will stop and look around and soak in the moment. I will absorb every bit of living and loving and laughing that I can and not take a moment for granted. Today is a good day.
That may be the only positive to have this diagnosis. We have the foreknowledge to appreciate the moment. I plan on doing just that.
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