I forgot two meetings this evening. They were on my calendar. They were on my mind this morning. And somehow…I sat there and had not a thought about them past noon. They were important to me. I fucked up.

I’m tired of fucking up, tired of not being able to remember things that are important. Is this how it started with my mother, is this the trail head of that long, horrific descent into dementia? I can’t do it. I won’t do it. I don’t want it, and I’m not going to have it.

If I go the same route she went, the same route my great-aunts went, it will not be pretty. I will throw in the towel long before it got as bad as it was for them. One of my great-aunts was calling the sheriff’s office nearly every night to complain about people fornicating on her roof. The other one started wearing tube socks and high heels and drinking sour milk from the fridge. My mother refused to eat anything but vanilla wafers and bananas until she weighed less than 100 pounds.

Not me. I’m not going gently into that good night, or the fog, or however it looks. I am not delusional. I just cannot remember things. I have CRS – Can’t Remember Shit. That is really truth, but it’s really not funny any longer. I am not having any of the family business – not this kid.

It’s as though I cannot balance myself any longer (physically or brain function-wise). I have been off balance for quite a while, but I know what that’s about, and I compensate. That’s annoying, but I really have no need of walking a tight rope anytime soon. The brain function is another story. I am nearly obsessed with my job, and I do remember a lot of necessary things…but everything else is in another world. I don’t know if the two sides of my brain are even communicating at this point.

It is utterly devastating to be having these unsettling visions of the future. Perhaps I should buy a few shares in Depends now, kill two birds with one stone – have a supply for when the time comes and make a few dollars to keep myself up in the nursing home. A few years ago, the only fear I had about getting old was that I wouldn’t be able to walk under my own power. Since my mother’s death, a wheelchair is the least of my worries.

Someone gave me a book, titled something like “Aging Is Not for Cissies”. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted, but after what I’ve seen of my progenitors, it’s definitely not for me. I don’t consider myself all that faint-hearted, but I get to decide what I’m willing to survive. Or not.

I know that I have underestimated the level of trauma I experienced watching my mother go down that path. The sun definitely went down on her. She no longer shared the same reality as the rest of us. I remember when she started telling me that she was concerned about her memory. She was still working then, and the doors were covered with Post-It notes to help her remember things. That was her compensating. And then after a while, there was no way to compensate for the huge deficit in her cognitive function. But she lingered in that state for more than a few years, and that’s where I draw the line.

My therapist suggested I ask my neurologist to set me up with for a cognitive study with a neuropsych practice. I know that is what I should do, but of course I am scared to death to do it. Should I just let the inevitable take it’s course? Should I just assume that if I do that, sooner or later I won’t know the difference, let alone my own name? From what I understand, early medication just buys time, it ultimately changes nothing. I don’t want this, any of it.

This must be what people with dread diseases go through, feeling that your body is out of your control entirely, doing things you neither want nor understand. Doing things that do not seem to be in your best interest, but it’s your own body doing it, but it’s trying to kill you? WTF? Control is highly overrated in the first place, but I suppose I did think one would have control of their own physicality. Apparently not.

I can’t do this. I choose not to do this. It won’t happen tomorrow, or perhaps not for quite some time, but I hope I know when I’ve gone past the point of no return. When I’m no longer me, when I can’t restore myself. I’ve seen the worst of what this journey has to offer, and I don’t need to go there. I know how the story ends, with suffering and loss of dignity, loss of whatever makes me who I am. Loss of everything.

I refuse. I just say no. There is no point. I do not think we were put here to suffer, but we do. I have generally rejected predeterminism, but what do I know. Maybe the struggle has always been the futile attempt to buck the tide of the inevitable. Perhaps I should call a halt to struggling and just wait for the bell to toll, the night to fall. Perhaps Death lied. Perhaps Death is proud, and laughs behind its dark hood at the incessant fear it raises.

I don’t have to do this, but I will do it until I don’t, until I am too weary to continue. It’s a choice, but a shitty one.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

One thought on “Choice

  1. What an intense journey you’re on right now. May the Spirit of Life flow through you freely, giving you strength and healing, restoring balance and harmony, guiding your path to wholeness.


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