My Fight to Avoid Oblivion

This past Tuesday August 15th, I landed in Chicago in preparation for a presentation that evening for Artis of Elmhurt. As the plane touched down, I turned on my phone along with everyone else on the plane. I immediately saw an email from Ron Lieber, a name I didn’t recognize. His email seemed implausible, and explained that he had written a series of articles for the New York Times on aging and financial issues that diseases such as dementia can cause. He shared that his last piece on this topic would involve writing about books that deal with these issues and that my book was one of the books he’d be including based on recommendations from his readers which he called “homework”. My immediate thought…”yeah, right”…I searched through my emails looking for a follow-up “just kidding” message but it wasn’t there. He assured me that he was “for real” and sent me copies of the previous articles he’d written on the topic. My mind started to spin. Was I really going to be mentioned in the NY Times? It became real after I returned home on Wednesday as Mom and I spent an hour with a photographer for our photo shoot.

Ron shared that the article would be online on Friday and in print on Saturday. When it came out on Friday I was in a meeting. As I shared the article with my colleagues, the support was amazing! People were smiling, cheering and printing the article! I immediately became emotional because Tim wasn’t here. But I could hear Tim cheering loudly “Yay Spunky”!! (My name on my license plate given to me more than 25 years ago by Larry Payne, my friend and former boss.) I was so proud of what Ron Lieber wrote about my book, and he called all four of the books he profiled as “utterly essential reading”!

On Saturday after searching several places in southern Maryland I found a copy of the print version of the article. The first thing that stuck me was the title of the article, which was different from the online version. “Facing Dread of Inching Toward Oblivion”… WOW… That wakes you up doesn’t it??? In all of my presentations I share with participants that I have two fears, running out of money to care for my Mom and getting dementia myself. Looking at the definition of oblivion in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, it’s “the state of something not remembered, used or thought about any more. The state of being unconscious or unaware and the state of not knowing what is going on around you.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to avoid oblivion like the plague! I want to always remember how I lived, loved and followed my calling of inspiring others through life’s challenges. And YES, I want people to remember my contributions to society and I hope they continue my journey of inspiring people in their own ways.  I know some people don’t understand how or why I tackle everything in my life at the speed of light, but it’s because I want to get as much done as possible in the event that my mind or body (or both) give out! I had an amazing Facebook conversation with my friend Gayle about whether we’d rather lose our mind or our body in our later years. It’s a great question isn’t it? How would you answer it?

As an African-American female, I don’t want to ever forget the racial strife and struggle ongoing in this country. I absolutely want to avoid oblivion in this area too, by being conscious and aware every single day of what’s going on and to ensure my voice is heard in the quest of love and justice for ALL of us! I’m so honored by the fact that Ron Lieber chose to include my book in his article and I’m not going to waste this recognition. I’m going to continue to find ways to help our loved ones enjoy life however they can with this disease until a cure for Alzheimer’s is found. I’m going to fight oblivion in every way possible too… I’m going to continue to enjoy every second of my life and to learn from the challenges thrown at me. I’ll continue to record my adventures so I can relive the joy of them long after they end. Most important of all, I’ll continue to love others with my whole heart and keep my faith in the forefront of my life. I hope you’ll join me in fighting oblivion in your lives too! We only get one mind and one body, let’s not waste what God has given us. NY Times 2

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The End of July, Not the End of Love!

For a full year I’d been dreading July 2017… because I’d have to relive everything that happened from July 10, 2016 when Tim had his first stroke, until the 29th when we buried him.  In between those days, there were so many things that occurred…legal things, family things and all those memories we made that constantly flowed through my mind. What kept me smiling was knowing how happy Tim was as we headed into the month of July 2016 living our RVing dream!

I survived July 2017, but it was a painful month. I got through it, and there were some really great moments and memories. But Lord knows there were some very dark moments of loneliness, sadness, and hopelessness too. I’ve asked myself how I got through it, and the answer is easy…. one moment at a time. At the beginning of the month, when I saw a photo of us as a couple, I would cry. On July 31st, I looked at a photo of us, and I laughed out loud. During this month we also celebrated Tim with a pig roast and a memorial golf outing. They were both extraordinary events, yet at times I thought my chest would burst open it hurt so much, but my heart continues to beat.

July 2017 is over, and I wonder how things will be now that it’s August 1st. Will I still be able to hear the sound of Tim’s voice after this month? Will I still feel his hugs and his love and see his pride in me on his face? Of course I will …. I will because though he’s no longer here, he will always be with me in some way, shape or form! No matter where I am as I go on new adventures and meet new people, it will never diminish the memories or the love that Tim and I shared for the 36 years that we were together. This picture of us in Venice, Italy on our 23rd anniversary was one of his all time fav pics of us. When I think of Tim today, I think of how joyful he was every day! I hope you remember him that way too. As painful as this year, and this month has been, I embrace it… because it speaks volumes about who Tim was for me and everyone who loved him. It’s August 1st 2017, and I’m smiling because I had the privilege of being Tim’s wife!

Venice (22)