Saturday, July 24, 2004

Celebrate Life

We were all set to go biking first thing this morning. The sky was clear and bright and the temperature was perfect - cool with no humidity. We had one small problem though – GALE FORCE WINDS! Yikes!

My muscles are getting stronger, but I didn’t think I could handle peddling into that wind for very long, so we decided to spend a lazy morning at home and linger over a second cup of coffee while we caught up on some email. I even did a bit of housework and we made plans to head out on our bikes right after lunch.

No such luck. The winds seemed to be picking up in strength not dying down, so we did some gardening, cut the grass, and then I picked up a book. Maybe things would calm down after dinner and we could try an evening ride down to the waterfront. In the meantime, I made a cup of tea and settled in for an afternoon of reading.

Well, it is almost 7pm and it still sounds ferocious out there. So no biking tonight. Maybe just a walk around the block will have to do for today. Tomorrow is another day. After our walk we can make some popcorn and watch a movie. MMMM, that sounds good to me too.

I missed the bike ride today, but the day wasn’t a total loss. The book I picked up, “Losing My Mind” by Thomas DeBaggio, was riveting, and I finished it in one sitting. It is a book dealing with Alzheimer’s, but chock full of truths and lessons we can all take to heart to help us through a difficult time.

Tom is a writer and was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in his 57th year. The book tells of his struggles when he first got the diagnosis and then his decision to write this book detailing his trip into this darkness called Alzheimer’s. Tom paints a vivid picture of what it is like on the inside looking out and seeing your memories slip away. Riveting, absolutely riveting.

Let me give you a few quotes from this most amazing book, just to give you a taste of it and maybe send you scurrying to your local bookstore or library to get your own copy.

Here I am at the moment of truth and all I can muster are hot screams and scribbled graffiti torn from my soul. Moments of slithering memory now define my life.”

As a writer, I felt his pain when he talked about feeling his ability to write start to slip away.

“I sit at my worktable, a still world around me, and stare at the wall, empty of decoration. I become lost in the vocabulary of silence. Thoughts squiggle and writhe into sentences that disappear before they can be acknowledged.”

“I bleed emotions every hour and play with a tricky shifting alphabet of stumbling words. I have just spent five minutes struggling to spell the word “hour”.

“Almost every minute of the day is destroyed by the struggle to reclaim lost words in my search to communicate. It is a losing battle, but I will sing until no word is left. Alzheimer’s is making me mute.”

Because this is a book about Alzheimer’s it deals in depth with the loss of memory, but it also talks about, facing death and how to live your life to the fullest in the meantime.

I have a person who is very near and dear to me who has just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I kept thinking of her as I read this book. So much of what Tom wrote would help anyone struggling with a life threatening disease.

One last quote from the book sums up Tom’s courage and attitude as he walks this path into Alzheimer’s. But we can apply it to whatever we are facing in our own lives.

“What better way to die than celebrating life?”

Don’t wait for a drastic diagnosis to wake you up. Start celebrating life and living yours to the fullest now! Right now! Pick up that pen and write; pick up that brush and paint; pick up your feet and move towards your dream!
Whatever calls to you – just do it!

"It is never too late to become what you might have been."
George Elliott


Alianora said...

That sounds like a very riveting book, I'm going to check it out tomorrow! If you are interested, I found a blog written by a woman who is experiencing early stages of Alzheimer's, and is writing the blog with her family's help to share her stuggles and try to promote her memories for the future, for herself and her grandchildren. The site is

Alianora said...

I own Tuesdays with Morrie and read it quite often! Another wonderful book is by the same author, Mitch Albom. It's titled "The Five People You Meet In Heaven" and it really gave me a great deal to think about regarding life and my purpose in life. Very good read, I highly recommend it! It's already 80 degrees here, not even 8am. I just finished planting the herbs in a plastic planter for now, that I can move around into the shade when the sun gets scorching. I hope you have a great weekend!

Alianora said...

"The Five People You meet In Heaven" Is hardback and the same size as "Tuesdays With Morrie" It has a red cover with a khaki colored trim.