Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sky: Holiday 2018

Well, holiday time has rolled around again. One of my personal favorite times of year, celebrating the end of the darkest days and the return of light, if not warmth.

The other day, I took part in a singing ritual… a yearly gathering of friends, old and new, singing our gratitude for the turning of the seasons.

I wondered how things would be different this year. Time passes quickly for me now. This year my friends and I will “celebrate“ my entering the third year of my terminal diagnosis. How will my friends react? How will I react?

This party could be an opportunity to catch up.

Sure enough, a friend approaches who I have known since 1973 when we were neighbors in the same tiny Northeast Kingdom town. In 1974 I had given her some of my favorite blankets when her ancient house on the river burned to the ground on a frigid winter night.

Despite the noise of numerous simultaneous conversations, I recognize my friend immediately as she makes her way across the room.

“Hi," she says, with a perky smile. “I’m Grace.”

“Oh, Grace, of course I remember. You’re not exactly forgettable after all.”

And, as soon as the words are out of my mouth, I know they are wrong. Any memory lapses intruding into my conversation with Grace, are not about Grace, but about pieces of my brain that no longer collaborate so well.

But we luck out and end up with a short, but warm, conversation. Researchers have determined that long-term memories are among the last to fade under the assault of dementia. So, our long, even though not particularly deep, history may have helped us.

And, I haven’t exactly been a pillar of cognitive brain power lately. Reading has become hit-or-miss. I have to concentrate hard to keep track of the characters and the plot of the novel I’m working my way through.

In conversation, I’m searching for familiar words all the time. Reading is still worth the extra effort, but I can easily imagine the frustration and agony of when it won’t be.

In the meantime, I’ll keep trudging along on what my friend Judy calls the Journey To the Unknown.

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