His death is my beginning – again.
As if it were yesterday I remember the day it didn’t make sense to him or anyone else in the family. A simple check up and a statement from the doctor and it was like the begining of a track race, the starters pistol loud and direct – the race begins. The race was different this time; everyone knew there would be no gold medal at the end. They were unsure whether it would be a sprint or a marathon. It is hard to prepare for something when you are unsure of how it will take shape. One thing is for sure, I will be better at being present.
You see it was a few years ago now that my father-in-law had his drivers licence taken away. He was getting a little older and some of his memory faculties were failing. I am uncertain why this had such a lasting impression on me. Maybe it’s a reminder that I have a male ego, maybe I felt his loss of identity, maybe it was the fact that times are changing and so is my health. Or, maybe it was the reality of the state of health my father-in-law was entering.
As a kid I loved to play with my cars. I would roll out my car carpet and I was immediatley transported to another world of a colourful, one-dimensional city. It was complete with roads, buildings, police stations, hospital, parking lots and any other idea I could muster up in my kid brain. It was endless what my mind could come up with. Any car and every car was sacred to me. I did not have a 3D television, electronic devices or an iPad to play on. I am still the guy that reads the automotive section of the newspaper. I am the guy that loves to drive in all types of weather and for as long as possible. The 22-hour straight drive to Florida has never been an issue. Sometimes I think my independence and enjoyment is from the simple ability to drive my car. I am required to stay present (see previous post “Smash up Derby”). He lost his driving privilege that day and I imagined the day when I will lose mine.
For the next couple of years I supported my wife and her family the best way anyone can as we watched her father transform slowly in front of us. His demise was insidious and fascinating all at the same time. My wifes’ gracious, caring, patience and unselfish abundance of love reassured me that I am in great hands if I were ever to enter that race of my life. And, she can rest assure I will be there for her.
Our imagination and/or lack of it, makes us human. To be human gives us the capacity to care and love for others. We have choices to make along our journey. Why not make great choices for ourselves before we are unable to – like my father-in-law?
Alzheimer’s and dementia are harrowing diseases. To help give peace to the families and to attempt to help us understand the disease, the doctor acquainted it to erasing your memory backwards. It is a loss of memory of the simple day to day activities, followed by bigger events in the past and ultimately forgetting who we are.
The brain is amazing; fascinating to say the least. Trillions of signals on a daily basis automatically regulate our bodies, creating thoughts both consciously and subconsciously. Researchers are still trying to figure out how it works and, for that matter, how it doesn’t.
In a fascinating decline of my father-in-laws brain function, too a disease we are still trying to understand, I marvelled at the brain and how it functions. So in honour of his disease I ask you this:
“If we don’t really understand this fascinating decline of our brains, is it possible we are interfering with the fascinating potential of our brains.”
To commemorate all of those who have suffered a tragic, uncontrollable loss of brain function – I have a new beginning.
My new beginning. I will reunite myself to practice, share, give, receive everything that is mindful. A dedication to exercising the brain. I will immerse myself in what has always fascinated me – the brain, human behaviour and personal development.
Join the journey and stayed tuned.