Saturday, August 16, 2008

Things I know about memories...

Tonight I sat and watched a show that touched my heart in so many ways. It made me think about how truly precious our memories are to us. The show is taken from a book called The Notebook. It is the story of a love that was beautiful and showed that Love can make Miracles. But it also tells the story of a woman, inflicted with Dementia. She writes down her memories in a notebook so that when she can no longer remember, her husband can read it to her. She hopes that the words will bring her back to him for just a little while. If you ever have the chance, please read the book or watch the movie.
As I watched this movie, thoughts ran through my mind. How precious our memories truly are to us. What a gift it is to have them and what a loss it would be to lose them. Our childhood memories, places we have been, things we have seen and done are a part of the person we are when we are adults. To lose those thoughts would change us and the person we are. The memory of my brothers hand on my shoulder, as I became his eyes at the age of seven. That memory helped create the man that I am today. If that memory were gone from me, the ability to write and to see the world in such detail and description might well be gone with it. The traveling that we did as a family when I was growing up showed me so many places and people. The life time that Sheila and I shared... to be lost from my memory would totally take from me so many things that I learned from her. I would be a different man and want different things in this life without those memories to look back on.
When Allie, the woman from the story, lost her memory, she began to live a totally different life. Though the essence of her personality were still hers, she had to start over again. The photo albums we create in our minds from our memories are often all we have left of some places and people in our lives. The cherished memories as well as those not so cherished are so much the reason we are who we are today. Losing them would be the same as losing part of our very soul. When I think of My Sheila, though sometimes it is through tears, I remember her laughter and her smile. I remember how everyday she would say "Good morning, good looking." I remember how with but a gentle touch, a brush of her fingertips on my skin told me exactly what she was thinking. When I was angry with someone, she could just place her tiny hand on my big arms and calm me in that very instant. Sometimes when i find myself angry, I remember that touch, and I find myself calming inside. Without that memory, what would calm me inside?
Though she was my forever True Love, she was not my only love in the years I have lived. The memories of a different love still reach my heart in the night. When I am sad, sometimes it is that love that brings to me a needed smile. This life has blessed me with many loves, each a different love... each a special memory in my soul. I will leave this world knowing in my heart of hearts that I have Truly been blessed more than any one man deserves. The memories of past loves, the new I might make with perhaps a new love, will be what carries me through until heaven calls me home.
Watching my daughters grow and building memories with them help me carry on each day. Love that fills my life in so many ways, from hearts that will be with me forever, sustain me in my lonely times. Can a memory or I should ask, can the loss of a memory be so devastating? I can answer that here, through tears that cloud my eyes, but not my thoughts. I cry myself to sleep at night because of a lost memory. My heart breaks in to pieces at the realization that although I remember Sheila's touch, her smell, her smile and even her very ways... I can no longer remember her precious voice. Try as I may, and The Father in heaven knows I try, I can not remember what her voice sounded like. To forget more than that would leave me crying I think forever.
Cherish the memories that are yours today. Hold tight to them and write them down somewhere. Make a little notebook as I have to my daughters, something you can pass on to them so they never forget what they have been to you. Perhaps my daughters will sit with me one day and read them back to me. Maybe the miracle of those memories will bring me back to them for just a moment. Just long enough to tell them I love them and how beautiful they have been in my life.
I pray I have my memory with me until I go away to heaven. I pray that one day I have the strength to listen to a tape my Sheila made before she went to heaven, so that I CAN hear her voice and so that I can remember. Today... is not that day for me.
Your memories are the most precious gift you will ever have. Hold them close to your heart. Cherish them forever. Share them often with those you love so that they stay alive in your heart and mind. Always, Darrel...

Attitude... does it make a difference?

Looking out of my second story window, I find myself reflecting once again on Life and where it has brought me too. I wonder why things happen or have happened in my life. What purposes they served and how I am going to use each thing that occurs in my life. Attitude is everything and it is many times the difference between making a bad thing good or a bad thing worse. The silence I feel more than hear today reminds me of where my life is today. My love has gone to heaven and my life changed totally forever. How I dealt with or am dealing with the loss is a lot of where my life will go. Again, attitude.
Where do I wander when I go here? I go to the whys in life. Many years ago, before the Bipolar found me, before Sheila came out of remission and our life was good... I had a medical condition that returned after 15 years of silence. I have Pulmonary Embolisms that like to show up now and then and try to Kill me.It was a very nasty one and they called the family in to say their goodbyes. Thankful to God, I survived it and after 10 days went home. Our life continued to go well but the closeness to death I had experienced had begun to take a silent toll on me. Less than two years later, another clot showed up. This one worse than the other. I knew how serious this one was and prayed so hard that God would spare me. I will add a poem written by me to the end here that was all about this incident.
God did spare me and thus comes the place I go perhaps too often. That clot added to my fear of dieing and left me scared and lost inside. But as I look back now, watching out my window, unable to cause myself to go outside of the house today, I wonder why He did choose to save me. Had I gone to heaven that time, Sheila would never have known the terrible heartbreak I brought to her over the next 4 years she was with me. She would not have watched as I regressed and the Bipolar and Turrets took over inside of me. She would have known only the love that I had for her and she would never have seen our world fall apart. What was his purpose for keeping me alive when the doctors said it was a miracle that I survived? Did I survive only to hurt my Love in ways that I am not sure can be forgiven? Did I live so that I could spend my lonely nights, crying myself to sleep at night because I miss My Love so much? Too go on hurting others by watching them fall for me when I knew my love was limited?
Attitude... that thing that gets us through our day or leaves us walking around like a Zombie, afraid to go outside, afraid to talk to much for fear we might say something that would hurt another soul. Wanting desperately to love and give all that I am, but afraid that in doing so, I would make the love I have for Sheila seem untrue or unreal? Welcome to my world... a bit mixed and insane at times.
So now, each morning I wake and I tell myself all the reasons God saved me. I remind myself of all the "good" I have done for others. Remembering the lives that because I am here today, have been made it little better for knowing me. I give myself a list in my brain as to why I should stay. Why I should continue to write novels and share my thoughts with others. God must have had a reason for saving me and so I will for now, continue to do what I think is good. I will continue to reach out to hearts that are sad or that feel they have no worth. As I reach out to them, tell them that they are good and that they are loved, perhaps I am reaching into myself and telling myself the same thing.
Attitude...the story of how Sheila's attitude and will to live and love gave us 24 years instead of four, together. How a simple thing like having a beautician come into her hospital room and groom her and make her feel alive, saved her life for another 10 years. It caused her to feel Alive again after so very long in the hospital.
Attitude... how I will choose to walk through this life. Alone and wondering what might or might not be, pondering life and where I will go from here. Not an easy thing for me. I think sometimes my words have helped others, bipolar or manic or completely fine people understand they are not alone and that someone DOES understand and share their confusion.Perhaps my only reason for being here is so that others may know that they are loved and wanted and needed and will have a place to go when they are tired and just need to vent. There are for certain great blessing to receive in doing these things.
Today, for now, at this moment... I choose to have a Positive attitude. I choose to stay and continue to reach out to those in need and see them smile. this moment I choose not to tear myself down and cause my own self to hurt. It really is all about your attitude. It is the basics of survival in this crazy world.
Today, I will try and be happy...
the poem about my perception of the night I was nearly gone...
God In His Mercy Said Stay.

The thunder rolled in from all around
and the lightening struck the ground,
The clouds they moved like a roaring train
and my eyes hurt from the pounding rain.
The sky’s had a look about them
like nothing that I had ever seen,
The darkness was a blackness so complete,
I knew what it had to mean.
So frightened was I of what could happen this night
that somewhere I almost lost sight,
That though I wanted to stay with my children and wife,
“He” promised me eternal life.
I searched through the clouds and the terrible storm
looking for some sign of light,
Then in my heart I felt such a warmth
as a curtain opened and the sun shown in bright.
I looked through the window it’s golden light bright
and I felt it call me to come,
Though I knew it was heaven I was still feeling fright
for on this earth I just wasn’t done.
Now there are those who will say this was all in my head
and just the state of mind I was in,
But my friends as I laid in my room on the bed
it was heaven I saw through the dim.
In all of that darkness the storms raging wild,
a light shone through the darkness for me,
And God in his love and mercy for this child...
Gave me life and said “Stay for Awhile”.
Thank you Father for your love and mercy.

Author's Comments:
"This poem was written shortly after I had my last Pulmonary Embolism. That night I waited for over 40 minutes for an ambulance to get to me. The doctors called all of my family in and told them to say goodbye as I was going to die. I did see a light and doorway that night. I felt that I could have gone through it but I prayed to God to let me stay with my family a little while longer. He blessed me with his grace and let me stay. "

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