FARDY: Forgetting is a central fact of life for me

Pleasant diversions are a wonderful antidote for dementia. I had them in spades recently.

Son Peter and and wife Carol invited Dorothea, daughter Donna and me to a no expense flight to Toronto and tickets to see Come From Away, that wonderful stage show recognizing the hospitality the people of Gander, N.L., provided to airline passengers unable to fly into New York after the 9-11 terrorist attack in 2001. Daughter Sheila, who lives in Toronto, joined us.

While in Toronto we spent time with wonderful longtime Irish friends Bob and Christine, and their family and grandchildren, including my buddy Dylan, 13. His sister Maeve was there as well.

I became a little cranky at the airport on our way to Toronto. Carol insisted I navigate the airport in a wheelchair. I sulked. Didn’t need it.

What if someone I knew saw me and scoffed?

But get this: We were the first to board and got lots of smiles from airline staff.

Recently I watched a movie, Away From Her, starring that wonderful Newfoundland actor Gordon Pinsent. Pinsent’s character’s wife was in care and believed that a male patient was her husband.

The thought of forgetting that Dorothea is my wife makes me shudder. I’ll drown in a wave of depression. And I want to die before she does. That’s the least I can ask for.

How normal is forgetting? “I forget,” is one of my oft-used phrases. Of course people use it, but just as an idle comment. For me, though, it’s a central fact of life.

I’ve read somewhere — of course I forget where — that scientists are working on a cure for dementia, or at least on ways to avoid it. If they are looking for a volunteer, that would be me.

For all that, spring has sprung and summer is nigh. It’s putting a bounce in my step and wonderful diversions in my days.

I have lots of spare time and try to use it wisely. So how am I doing in that department?

Fortunately I enjoy books, magazines and newspapers, on- and offline. We have subscriptions to five magazines. I read this daily newspaper and others online. I have just read Dispatches from the Front, the story of Matthew Halton, a famous Canadian war correspondent during the Second World War.

It’s a wonderful read written by his son David, a CBC correspondent himself. I am also reading Newfoundland in the North Atlantic World by David Neary, and The Long Way Home by John DeMont, who writes in this newspaper.

I also read the news a few times a day on my tablet.

Dorothea is a wonderful reader and remembers more than I do.

I also have weird things happening. Whenever we are watching shows on television I invariably think I have seen it before. Dorothea assures me I haven’t. I never know how it is going to end.

Maybe some expert can explain what is going on in my muddled mind.

Meanwhile, I know the clock is ticking and my mind will continue to betray me. Without Dorothea I would be depressed 24 hours a day.


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