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


15 thoughts on “My Fight to Avoid Oblivion

  1. You have an AWESOME spirit, Sista! Keep on inspiring me & others, with your wisdom. Personally, I DREAD dementia. I’ve already forgotten many events from my life, & when reminded, it leaves me feeling sad….How sad, it would it be, to remember NOTHING.

  2. Thank you so much Regina!!! I too get very worried when I’ve forgotten something that I did that someone else remembers and reminds me of. YIKES!!!!! I hope that if I forget in the future and I end up with dementia, someone in my life will show me the photos so I can smile at the memories!! No matter what, I’ll keep it going and keep following my calling!!!

    Thanks and love to you!!

  3. “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.”

    Have no fear, dearest Loretta, none, no, none at all, you are and will be remembered for the inspiration of your labors and the inspiration of your very life.

    As for your and Gayle’s question, at this moment, if I had a choice between the diminution of my body or my mind, I would choose my body – though if or when that happens, I believe I would choose to die than live without the capacity to move about and to engage others in meaningful ways.

    However, for this moment in response to your wondrous post and the recognition of you and your book in the New York Tines, C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S!

    Love you, admire you, respect you, adore you!

    • And I love, respect and adore you back! Thank you for your very kind words!! This has been a monumental week in my life for sure!!

      I received a lot of texts and emails today about our question from folks I didn’t even know read my blog! I too want to keep my min and hope that I can read and stay alert but like you I want to be out and engaging!! I guess we don’t have a say in how all this will play out, but I pray that our faith will sustain us and keep us calm as we endure whatever is to come in our future!

      Thanks again for the congrats and praise for my work in this world. Happy that you’ve been along for a lot of the journey!

      Much love

  4. I read the article in the NY Times and was drawn to your story after seeing the picture of you and your mother in the article. I too was my mom’s mom, due to her dementia, and she passed away almost a year ago. It was a blessing to care for her, and do many things to make her happy, just as you do for your mother. I completely empathize with you, and hope that you continue to have the strength and faith to care for her and yourself. Thank you for spreading the word about how to care for a parent with this challenging disease. You are blessing many who you don’t even realize because of your courage to share your story!

    • Thank you sooooo much!!! I promise to keep doing what I’m doing and sharing our story!! Thank you for sharing yours with me and I’m so sorry for your loss!! I truly appreciate your support and encouragement!! I was so surprised about the New York Times article!! I lost my husband suddenly one year ago and it was such a huge loss for me, and for my Mom who he did so much for though she no longer remembered him. So I’m learning a new path as I go, continuing to do the best for her for the rest of her life. So many people around me are ensuring I take care of myself. I have my own support group at my church! They’re incredible!! Thanks again!

  5. What a wonderful reward for all that you do and all that you are. I know you will continue to do whatever you can to help whoever you can. During this dark period in this world where so much hate is being so widely expressed is it so important that we not let it take away our will and need to give and receive LOVE. Since we don’t know what faith has in store for us (right!) I like you am just going to keep doing what I thing and feel is the right thing to do and hope that it will be enough. Like Paul Lawrence Dunbar said “We have to “Keep On Keepin On”:-)

    • Thanks so much Yvonne!! Learning about this article was stunning!!! WOW!!! When I actually saw it I jumped up and down!! We truly don’t know what’s in store for us, but as you say we will keep on keeping on!!! I know we are both doing what we are called to do!! It’s just who we are!! You’ve been a great example for me to emulate, and I’m so grateful for you in my life!! Much love!!

  6. HI Loretta, I met you at a presentation in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. I purchased your book. I finished it last week and wanted to say thank you for sharing not only your story, but yourself and your mom. The books was wonderful – a great guide to maneuvering through dementia as well as a nice tribute to you mom. As I continue to write about my gram who suffered from the same disease, I will take inspiration from you!

    Michael Burroway

    • Hi Michael!!! Thank you so much for reading my book AND my blog and for your awesome comments!! I’m thrilled that you found the book helpful!! If you ever need “live” inspiration don’t hesitate to reach out to me!! You made my day!! Thanks so much!!!

  7. Loretta, I was seated in the front row of your wonderful presentation that very evening! Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story with us. You are truly a blessing! Your positive, uplifting message made my heart smile. I truly appreciate all of the wonderful resources that you shared with us. Your book is already on its way to our mailbox and I will hold it close to my heart in the coming years. Huge congratulations on the New York Times article, Loretta!

    • Hey Dawn!!!!

      Wow!! Thank you soooooo much!! I truly appreciate your awesome comments AND you purchasing my book!! I had such a blast with you all that night!! It was fun!! I absoluely love meeting and working with caregivers! I believe I was born to do this work!! Keep in touch my friend and thanks again!!


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