I’m losing… it. The storehouse of faces I’ve loved. Those voices I once heard whispered in my ear. Those unmistakable laughs. Those unforgettable moments I was dying to tell. Those corny jokes told again and again, but I loved the one telling them. Those little arms that came along with little smiles and wide eyes. Those exciting and luring moments that seemed too hot to forget. And all of those things that made me who I am… by knowing who I am… and knowing who I am not. Memory. That’s my it. So when I say I am losing… it, I am not joking. I am losing… my memories. I am losing… me.
It sounds so selfish to say it like that. But, Lord, how can it be selfish to be concerned about my heath. It’s not healthy to lose everything you have done in me to make me who I am. I am going to lose all of that as well. I am losing the verses, the hymns, the parables, the commandments, and the beautiful love letter your Son left us in the book of John. Worst of all, I am losing everything I know about you, your Son, and your Holy Spirit. My reason for living.
My friends used to call me “human rewind”. I was the one who remembered birthdays, anniversaries, and even phone numbers and addresses long before cellphones. I could verbally playback songs, note for note, ooh ah for ooh ah. I made extra money on jobs because of articulation, pronunciation, accentuation, and remembering the details of products, customers, and all sorts of info. I was given leadership roles in work and college organizing resources of information because I had pleasure (really a need) to keep things in some form of order for immediate access.
By your grace, I memorized countless bible verses, even chapters. You allowed me to memorize the whole book of James. I knew the ten commandments fully. I knew the books of the bible, new and old, in chronological order. I learned so many hymns, in their entirety, not just their popularity. I was asked by church to do a writing ministry because I was already sending cards for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, weddings, graduations, get wells, and just because. They offered to keep me in supply of stamps, cards, and whatever I needed as they handed me a directory and told me to let them know whenever I found mistakes.
Now… now I’m lucky if I can finish a conversation without fumbling, or rambling, forgetting, or sounding like the high school drop out I was (my high school teacher, who was teacher of the year with NCAE and our school several years running, urged me to quit school to get my G.E.D. and go on into college in fear I was getting bored with school), or a nervous rambling wreck unable to at least keep my focus on topic. I find it extremely hard to remember the simplest of things if they’re not written down. Even then, I have to remember they’re written down already, or at least put a note where I hope I will see it. And my editorial skills, well they speak for themselves.
Friends and family are hurt that I cannot remember their special days, even more by my asking them to write it down… again… and again. They are offended by my writing the same notes I have written again and again over very personal matters, some that they only entrusted to me. They ask me not to write any more. I have not been the one who everyone comes to for everything for quite some time. They no longer trust my wisdom, my confidentiality, or my ability to be genuine.
Most days, I am struggling with medications… having to take them, having to trust them, and having to be careful of them. A couple of years ago I only had a couple of prescriptions to take as needed, which wasn’t often. Now I take 9 to 11 on a daily basis. Some I take more than once a day. I have to be careful discussing this because we have family/friends we have to hide meds from. So I have to hide them and remember. I have to write down what I take so I can remember when they’re due, and catch myself before I accidentally take meds on top of each other, and sometimes when I have already taken them again it gives me a window of time… to know when I’ll be ok. As long as I get to write these things down, it helps.
Lord, it’s hard. It’s scary. It’s depressing. It makes it easy to give up, especially when I see the hurt I put on a face, or when I disappoint those I love, and I mean disappointment that sticks for life, the kind I know from my own personal experience, and to know there’s nothing I can do about it. On top of this, losses in my life and my family have been many and continue. The people who once asked me to let them help, or asked me to be their help are not here to vouch for what I’m like, what I eat, what I’m allergic to, what health issues I have, or anything else that I will eventually have no control over. My life will be at the mercy of strangers. All I can do is pray they are your strangers, with your wisdom, your compassion, and your favor.
How does all of this feel? That’s all anyone ever wants to know. Didn’t I just say that… hard, scary, depressing, easy to give up, helpless, hopeless, disappointing, lonely, frustrated, and there’s nothing I can do… but pray. And I do.