Memory Health: Alzheimer's Support Group

The holidays I’ve been dreading are finally over

The holidays I’ve been dreading are finally over

Hello all,

First and foremost, let met say that I have an awesome family that I know loves and cares for me very much. I realize this fact and value it beyond most anything else. That is not what this post is about.

These are the first holidays I have spent without my family, the family that I was born into, my birth family. As many of you know, my brother passed in April, leaving me as the only remaining member of the original nuclear family. It’s a feeling I could not have truly anticipated nor can I aptly describe. And to say I had been approaching the holidays with trepidation would be an understatement. This would be the first time in my 57 years I spent the holidays without any of them and it left a large dark void in my soul that simmered just under the surface. The thought wasn’t constantly in my mind but it was never far away. There was always some small knick knack or smell or tradition or etc... that reminded of them. I have plenty of folks to share those memories with but, some of the most personal aren’t intimate to them, they weren’t there, they can’t share my loss on the same level. I hope I’m not being selfish or conceited in saying that but I don’t think I would be able to truly understand or share your childhood memories intimately even if I had known you most of your life.

Slowly the holidays passed and we, as a family, celebrated them with our own traditions. The ones that my own family will always remember and will someday perhaps remember fondly as I do mine now. As the days passed I began to understand just how much of my parents and my brother were still with me in my children, in my niece, in my granddaughter, in the old family traditions I had unknowingly slipped into our current family traditions. I began to realize that I wasn’t as alone in this world as I thought I was. My family was still all around me, surrounding me with the warmth of their memories and love and the rich heritage they had imparted upon me and I now hoped to continue with the next generations.

My deepest fear now in this area is the day I can no longer remember any of them. I think this will be worse than realizing they are all gone. Although, for me, at that point, it will make little difference. I’m thinking in my current frame of mind and the big picture. Maybe I’m overthinking it, I don’t know. I do know I came out of my first holidays without any of my birth family relatively stronger, with a better sense of self and family. And, as my time is limited, both cognitively and physically, this means a great deal to me at this point. I intend it to improve my attitudes and relationships toward my family. Goodness knows they deserve it.

I sincerely hope your holidays were all you hoped for and you have a healthier and happier new year!

Randy

4 Replies
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Hey Randy, glad you survived the holidays. Its funny how alike we are considering where and when we come from but some ways we are polar opposites. Due to childhood circumstances and later the military, I have never had that deep-roots homestead thing going on and don't even know what a nuclear family is. Never living one place more than 18 months to 3 years installs a sense what I called "gypsy" or nomadic blood in me that remains to this day. Normally living in one place longer than 2-3 years and I start to get the itch to go find somewhere new. Not that there is anything wrong with where I am living at any one point (though the less said about Lynchburg VA the better), just had this wanderlust that lead me all over the country and parts of the planet.

So I never had those connections you have and are now sensing loss over losing. Say that three times fast. However having lived and worked in the Southeast I have met a number of folks who would not move away for anything in the world and its mostly because of the connections you mentioned. Back in 96 or so when the dot-com boom was taking off and they were paying stupidly high wages and bonuses for literally any programmer willing to work in Ca and for the area we were in VA, an decent programmer might top out around 22-25K annually; that was alot for the area and thats after like 10 years service. But simply moving to California and doing the exact same job would result in a starting wage 3x the "senior" wage in VA. The math was blindingly simple for me and others but some with those roots/family heritage (alot of this was of the "the south will rise again" schtick), nothing could convince them to move and it was alot of years before I understood that.

For me it was more like "What? You will pay me how much for sitting on my ass and doing *that*?"

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That is commendable. Randy, how much do you feel you can actually control of the negative behaviours/speech just by will? Or, is it mostly involuntary, like the lack of control of tics and vocals with Tourette Syndrome?

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Thanks Johanna-Beth,

As long as I have a decent bit of cognition, I believe I can make myself make the effort to control how I interact with those closest to me. Admittedly, I don’t have the energy, mental or physical, to put up with the foolishness of acquaintances and if I’m in a deep fog , or light fog for that matter, it becomes almost impossible to interact with anyone. See my post about becoming a person I don’t want to be. You wouldn’t believe, or maybe you would, the things well meaning people do that they think will make your “condition “ better. Doesn’t matter that they don’t have the first idea of how my “condition “ works or possibly even what it is. It seems they always have the definitive answer.. I really appreciate their time, effort and enthusiasm, but I really don’t have the mental or physical stamina for it. Especially since I’m willing to educate anyone willing to listen about LBD. But for now, I’m going to keep plugging along.

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Randy. I am so glad for you that you realize how deeply you care for your family which is left and you have taken the positive step of embracing them as you can.

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