Serious moment of reflection here. This is not going to be quite worthy of being a "Deep Thought" but it's pretty close.
We were discussing the grandparents the other day (my and hubby's grandparents). I have both my grandmothers living; and actually until recently my great-grandmother who died at the age of 101. My husband only has his paterrnal grandmother left. Of course, as you can imagine, they are all getting along in age. They all range in the late 70's to mid 90's. And lately, there has been discussion in both families about dementia and Alzheimers. The grandma's are getting pretty forgetful. Hubby's gma doesn't even know who he is anymore; certainly doesn't know he's married or has three girls of his own now. My own are starting as well; although they certainly are trying to hide it very well. Can I be perfectly honest? Alzheimer's scares the bejeesuz out of me. I can't imagine living your enitre life, only to forget it all - even yourself. All the entities that you have used to build your personality - vanished. All those precious memories you've spent a lifetime building only to be discarded effortlessly by your mind. It seems so unjust, cruel and unfair. It scares me even more because it's hereditary and it's in my family.
I can't imagine not remembering my favorite toys as a child, cherished schoolmates, and beloved pets. Camping trips, going to the zoo or family vacations. I can't comprehend not remembering all the crazy stuff I did as a teenager (some I wish I COULD forget), school dances, fancy prom dresses and first kisses and first loves. The year you met your soul mate, the day he proposed, your wedding day down to every finite detail of the dress your wore, the flowers you carried, the guests who smiled at you - all gone. I can't fathome forgetting the day my children were born: hearing their tiny cries, touching their soft skin or smelling the aroma of them so sweet. All the tender memories from them growing up: first steps, first smiles, first words. Years and years that you waiting a lifetime to get to and experience. Then imagine watching old home movies or looking through photographs and not know who you are looking at. Not finding faces or places in the archives of your mind because they have long been abandoned; and replaced with confusion.
I am one of those people who has a memory like an elephant. I kid you not, I remember things from as young as 2 years old. I definately remember the saffari I was on when a giraffe stuck his head in the window and scared the living daylights out of me. I remember crazy, unimportant things... like the color dress I wore at my 10th birthday. I remember a lot of great things that are beyond important - like the day I found out I was having twins. I must have a very organized brain or something; things so neatly put away. And the thought of one day having all my internal files thrown up in the air and float aimlessly down again in disarray - to me that's inhumane. And even knowing that it might be a moot point to get upset about it (it may just be inevitable); and also knowing I can't help the grandma's either is indescribably sad.
Hubby told me maybe the grace in it all is not knowing what you've lost; so you really don't grieve for it. Maybe the Godsend is not realizing you've lost it all. I don't believe that. I don't think people can stand there and not realize there are important memories missing they can't retrieve anymore. I can't see it being peaceful to wake up to a roomful of strangers and wondering why they are so sad you don't know who they are. I don't believe it is not missed: it's missed in those who watch your mind fade away, along with their memories of you in it.
So after I probably depressed the hell out of you; don't worry because I'm not going to leave this on a sour note. I just want to say I've realized something really important and I want you to share in it to. LIVE every day to your FULLEST capacity. Don't worry about what may or may not be there when you are 90. The most important thing is to have experienced and to have lived your life. There never is guarantees in anything we do. We all leave this spinning rock at some point. I dont necessarily know if we take our memories with us. I think maybe they were made to share with others, who carry them on with them to share with others. Maybe that's the joy and the sanctity of preserving memories: to be carried in the hearts of others. I firmly believe it's the impression you made on those around you that matter the most. So I invite you all to share your vigor for life, and leave your mark on this world in the most meaningful way that you possibly can... just live.