A Good Home, Memory

Being “Special”

There’s a lot to be said for being ridiculous — if you mean to.

I often mean to.

But I realized very recently that my family doesn’t always know when I’m joking.

I say something ridiculous.  They burst out laughing.

Or not.

“How can you have known me for so long and not know when I’m joking?” I ask, serious now.

“Because you’ve come out with the craziest things sometimes,” one of them answers. “You’re very special.” 

~~

Special? 

Oh… Of course.

They were there. Witnesses to the not-so-funny moments in the very bad years.

All those times.  

When I struggled to get the words out, struggled to even think of them, hold them long enough in my mind — only to have them come out in a mish-mash.

Or when the words came, but I asked the same question over and over until someone said: “You’ve asked that question 5 times in the last hour”.

~~

I can smile at some memories now.

I remember the first time my family pulled out my favourite board game — wanting to help bring back my words.  It was a warm day. We sat at the table on the verandah.

 

blog-photo-verandah-chairs[1]

I couldn’t remember the rules. Couldn’t find the words.

But we stuck with it, moving slowly through incomprehension and frustration to laughter at the ridiculous words I created.

And — the whole time — I called the game “Scramble”, not Scrabble. And no-one corrected me. 

It was, of course, the perfect adjective for my mind and speech, but I didn’t make the connection at the time.  

~~

I empathize — very keenly now — with people whose memories have been stolen by head injuries, or diseases like Alzheimer’s. 

People like my friend whom I’ll call Mel. 

Mel knitted sweaters, blankets, and made gorgeous quilts — prized by her family and friends. 

Mel had now forgotten all that. Forgotten even family and friends.  

~~

I was surprised at how elegant she still looked. Dressed in a light-blue skirt-set, not a hair out of place.

We sat together in the lounge of the ward where she lived.

It was a locked ward.

Mel smiled at me politely. 

Blankly. 

I chatted, paused between sentences, searched her face for signs of recognition. I told her it was freezing outside. I told her that I’d recently brought my relatives to see one of her quilts that still hangs in a prominent place that we both know very well. 

I patted her arm.

I said I wished I’d asked her to teach me how to quilt.

“I can’t even figure out how to cut the squares of cloth,” I confessed. “And I have no idea how to join them.”

Her eyes fastened on mine.

She seemed to listen, and even nodded. 

Then her fingers started to move on her lap. Almost as if they had a mind of their own.

Smoothing out the imagined fabric. Drawing, cutting, even joining our imaginary squares.

I watched, transfixed.

Mel looked up at me as if to ask: “Got it now?”

Sublime. It was sublime.

Mel was teaching without words. 

I nodded,  at a loss for words.

~~

We sat together.

Silent. Smiling. Holding hands. 

It was enough. It had to be enough.

The blank look was back. 

I finally, reluctantly, said goodbye. Hugged her and left her there.

I heard the thud and click of the door behind me as it closed and locked.

~~

Dedicated to everyone who has a head injury, dementia, or whose brains work differently.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
A Good Home, Humorous movie, Memory, Movies

I Must Confess….

Especially in light of Grace’s wonderfully enlightening piece on Disney films — which I reblogged just two days ago — I have to confess:

My twin is a Disney Pixar character.

No, we’re not the same colour.

We don’t even share the same species.

Dory - Credit Pixar
Image Credit: Pixar

But she’s my twin and alter-ego.

She’s a fish named Dory. 

~~

I first met Dory in the movie “Finding Nemo”, several years ago.

I don’t know if she was born forgetful or if she had an accident that jostled her brain around, but Dory keeps forgetting important stuff. Like where she is or what she’s supposed to be doing.  You wouldn’t know that she’s actually smart.

My daughter was the first person to notice the similarity between us – and as soon as she said it, I knew: Dory is my twin. 

So you know I’ll be first in line when “Finding Dory” comes out, don’t you?

Well …. That’s if I remember.

Here’s the trailer:

A Good Home, Faith, Family, Family Moments, Farm house, Flowering shrubs, Flowers, Gardening, Gardens, Gratitude, Home, Homes, Inspiration

Flowers, Memories, Diaries

Memory is the diary we all carry about with us, wrote Oscar Wilde.

But for me, diary is memory. Years of memories.

Family, home, garden, daily life.

Diaries played a small role in my overall life, but became a huge part of my post-accident experience. With little sense of time, and often no memory of events just minutes after they happened, I started writing in my journal again.

Little things. Big things. Write it down quickly. 

Blog Photo - Journals

A doctor played a key role.  She told me to record events as they happened, figuring I could share these entries with the  medical professionals I visited.  My memory and speech problems were so bad, she noted, that “No other specialist will take two hours to try to figure out what you are saying. Write.”

Of course, that’s not word-for-word. But I scribbled down her order.

I returned to keeping journals. Some of the entries were so painful, I vowed to never re-read them.

The best? Entries about time with family.

Blog Photo - Rainy Garden with Flowering shrubs

Next best: time in the garden.

I used to keep a journal to track my gardens’ progress. The major triumphs and minor tragedies, the plans carried out and those forgotten.

Now, no longer able to garden, I was reduced to observing.  But observing led to writing and writing led to “remembering”.

The first spring bulbs to bloom.

Blog Photo - Crocus in Spring

The first night-bloomer of the season.

Blog Photo - Nightbloomer1

The first time the fern-leaf peonies – presents from friends Les and Sandra – bloomed.

Blog Photo - Fernleaf Peonies

The hollyhock that bloomed in two colours.

Blog Photo - Daylily yellow

The mysterious flower that showed up one summer.

Blog Photo - Blue forget me not -- closer

Red currants, seeds planted by birds or breeze.

Blog - Red Currants

When your brain doesn’t work efficiently, you misplace things. When you’re in too much pain to move, you can’t go looking for things somewhere else.  So I learned to keep the garden journal on the verandah, and other journals in every room of the house.

Blog Photo - Verandah chairsAn onlooker, seeing me writing on that lovely verandah, might have thought: “What a charmed life.”

But as my mother always said : “Never envy others. No-one knows what troubles they have.” I was – quite literally — writing to save my life.

Looking back, I’m astonished at some of the lovely things that happened. Things to be grateful for. People to be grateful to.

I’m shocked at the development of this garden, as captured in my journals.

Grateful to my husband, for building arbours, dividing plants, maintaining the garden — in addition to everything else that landed on his plate.

Blog Photo - Garden Bridal wreath

Some of what I read evokes real memories. They bring tears, laughter, delight, wonder.

Some of it is not at all familiar. It’s like reading about someone else’s life, but knowing it’s yours.

Interesting, that.

Photos by Hamlin Grange