IMG_190131 Days Walking Through Chronic Illness

day nineteen 

“What’s a memory?” he asked.

“Something as precious as gold, young man,

something as precious as gold.’

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge~Mem Fox

I love books. Amazon and my sweet man will completely agree with me on this. I also love children’s books.

The year I turned fifty I gave myself a gift. A copy of my all time favorite children’s book, Wilfrid Gorden McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox.

When I cozied up to this book as one of my favorites, I did not have a clue how close to home it would touch. How personal it would become.

Wilfrid, a small boy, grows up next door to an old people’s home. He knew all the people who lived there by name. His favorite was Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper, because she had four names like him.

Poor Miss Nancy had lost her memory.

Turning descriptive page after page, Wilfrid sets about finding out what a memory is. From one old folk to the next, he gets many sentimental and emotional answers.

Drawing on all the answers he receives, Wilfrid fills a basket with trinkets of things he and Miss Nancy had once talked about, sparking her memory.

“What a dear, strange child to bring me all these wonderful things,” thought Miss Nancy. Then she started to remember.”

Wilfrid Gorden McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

No, I have not lost my memory. I have lost fragments. Fragments that lie just out of my grasp.

The calendar for instance.

I am never quite sure what day it is, what month, or occasionally what year. Paging back through my journal, there is evidence of this.

I note every appointment on my iPhone, with back up appointment cards going to my sweet sister in law.

I have hurt the feelings of those I love, forgetting birthdays and often mixing up names.

Before I was told three years ago not to drive, I repeatedly misplaced where I parked the car. I lived with a terrible fear I would get lost on the simple drive home. Silently practicing my name and address as I traveled along.

I always took the same route, parked in the same rows, frequented the same places. Adapting coping skills, trying not to draw attention to my struggle.

I finally confessed to my husband, I thought I might have early onset Alzheimer’s. Once we had a diagnosis, he admitted he had worried the same.

Brain fog, causing a temporary memory lapse, comes without warning and unfortunately at the most inopportune times.

I grasp at the edges of my memory for words, places, people, events from the past. Things that are as familiar to me as my own face. Just beyond my reach.

My directional sense, gone.

As we drive around, I am forever asking my man if he is sure we are on the right road, or did he make a wrong turn. This one, usually leads to laughter, as he slows down and questions himself.

This, taking place on the streets and roads we most frequently ride.

I do love to tease him sometimes. Asking if he wants me to drive. “NO,” he emphatically replies.

Scripture memory, well, enough said.

One of the many gifts God has given me in all this, the whisper of a familiar Word when I most need it.

Many times I have set in the bathtub gripped with fear and anxiety, worried the dreaded darkness will overcome me there, scrolling through scriptures He has written on my heart.

Like Miss Nancy’s basket of treasures that sparked her memory, I surround myself with post it notes and index cards. Journaling the lovely things, I am likely to mix up one day.

“She held the warm egg and told Wilfrid Gordon about the tiny speckled blue eggs she had once found in a bird’s nest in her aunt’s garden.

She put a shell to her ear and remembered going to the beach by tram long ago and how hot she had felt in her button~up boots.

She bounced the football to Wilfrid Gordon and remembered the day she had met him and all the secrets they had told.

And the two of them smiled and smiled because Miss Nancy’s memory had been found again by a small boy, who wasn’t very old either.”

Wilfrid Gorden McDonald Partridge~Mem Fox

(a beautiful book for young and old and in~between)

What’s a memory? The priceless, lovely pictures of the things, I treasure in my heart.

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn