Maybe There is a Good Reason They Died Young

April 27, 2011

Taylor "Forget Me Not" portrait snuff box

I am beginning to wonder if my mother and her mother weren’t spot-on when they died young. Both of them died in their fifties, and I have always thought they died too early. I’ve always thought that living only 50-some years is a short life.

But now that I am here myself—54 years old—I can see some real good reasons for living a short life.

In particular, I can no longer remember much of anything. Long-term, short-term … it all blurs or goes blank. And, this bites. I get a thought in my head—for example, feed the chickens—and by the time I walk out the front door I have no idea why I have left the house. Truly.

I know, I know. This happens with aging; it’s “normal”, but let me tell you, it is not normal. It is not normal, it affects all areas of my life—my life is no longer normal. And it is driving me (even more) crazy.

I have always been a “good girl”: getting straight As in school; being helpful to others; concerned about what people think of me. And yes, I have evolved beyond the stringent and self-deprecating ways of my earlier years, but I still have issues.

I still am hurt and frustrated when I fail, when I let someone down. For example, phone messages—when someone calls for my housemate, if I don’t write down the message that very moment I am likely to completely forget they called. If I don’t immediately put the message someplace my housemate will see it, he might not get it timely, even if I did write it down right away. And then, I feel like I have failed him.

Sure, these are my feelings, and sure, I could adjust my attitude. But after decades of being a high-functioning human it is brutally distressing to be losing one of my primary assets—my mind.

So now I look at my mom and my grandmother—both were highly-functioning humans—and I have to wonder if they didn’t do it right by dying before their minds were all gone.

Photo: Taylor “Forget Me Not” portrait snuff box.

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