I recognize now that I am so much more than whom I perceived myself to be. I’ve done reading, self-help exercises and all that stuff, and understand how I got to this point in my life. I wish I’d been strong enough to make some better decisions; instead I seemed to rebound, from one situation to another, never looking at the future, never thinking of what I needed.
And what I have to wonder now, is how much of my thinking, my behaviour, was influenced or affected by my disease. I wasn’t always so sad and serious, was I? When did I start feeling so worthless? I know depression played its part, and maybe the antidepressants helped for awhile. But I couldn’t handle the dreams. They were too intertwined with the real parts of my life and it got so I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t.
When did my personality change? Were the changes the result of what I was experiencing, or were they caused by the numerous lesions in my brain?
I didn’t recognize or consider this until much later. Cognitive changes were not even on my road map, I was all about the physical, what I could see and feel.
My reaction to the earlier MRI was fear. Fear of losing my true self, the person I was. Fear of losing my memories. Somehow, in my mind, I equated losing my memories, losing my memory as losing me. I began to write the family stories, what I knew and remembered of each member of the family, at least those who were dead and gone. I wrote details as I remembered them, and stories that shouldn’t be forgotten.
I became obsessed that my grandchildren not forget who I was, that they would have memories of me that they would cherish. I loved to cook and often baked with the girls, so a cookbook of my favourite recipes, recipes we’d made together, seemed perfect. Scrapbooking was all the rage so I started taking all my tried and true recipes and put them into scrapbook format. I have the original, and made photocopies for each of the grandchildren. I bought them each a binder, did a fancy cover page, and organized the recipe pages in sections, each page protected in a plastic sleeve.
The kids loved cooking with me and I took photos and added those to the new recipes we were trying. As events occurred, birthdays, holidays, and such, I found new recipes to try and record for the book. I started adding anecdotal notes, making it even more personal. When I began there were four grandkids, but not long after I started this project, there were two more. That was some mad photocopying to make copies for the newest family members.
The problem with starting something like this is keeping it up. It was a make work project, and I was setting myself up to fail. Even now, I have a file of recipes to organize into pages for our books, and completed pages to photocopy. My plan to give the kids new pages every year at Christmas has stalled.
I don’t need the emotions that plague me because I feel I’ve failed them, I don’t need a reminder that I am no longer an able person.