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Memory


Strokewife

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Memory-
All alone in the moonlight…I can smile happy your days (I can dream of the old days)…Life was beautiful then…I remember the time I knew what happiness was…Let the memory live again…

 

While I found myself sluggishly gazing at a moonbeam shining itself through the window late one night not so long ago I softly sang a few bars from the song Memory.  This song is from the 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. Grizabella, a character in Cats sings the song.  She is a very old, disheveled cat who in this song harks back to her days as a glamorous dancer and declares her wishes to start a new life.

 

Suddenly, my mind drifted in thought about my stroke survivor who was lying not so quietly asleep next to me.  It has been over two years since his first stroke.  He had a second stroke almost exactly one year prior to the first one.  In those two and a half years my husband seems to have settled.  What I mean by this is he isn’t so eager to work on recovery. It seems he is more just about existing. We still go to therapy but not as often.  He takes himself to the bathroom daily but not always without assistance.  Dressing himself has not improved.  Preparing lunch by him does not happen. Basically, working the remote for the TV is his greatest skill post stroke.  Certainly, I hope I do not sound trite or disgruntled. I very much continue to encourage my husband with every flip of the coin.  Thus, the point of this thought regarding a song called Memory is about that very thing-his memory. 

 

My Stroke Survivor still has a large collection of vinyl record albums along with the stereo equipment to play them.  However, none of this stuff was connected or working with our more modern day equipment.  This was a hat I chose not to wear.  So, one day after hearing him moan about how badly he would like to play his records I called a good friend of his who shared the same sentiments and ask if he could get the turn table working.  Again, I must stress this was not an easy task to accomplish but the end result was successful.  Of course, I found myself even more appreciative of modern technology and a thing called Amazon Prime.  I love that I can download songs to my phone and play them with the press of a button.  Anyway, now there are many days that I am requested to find an album and place it on his turntable. Greatest hits from the Eagles, Bread, Boston, Chicago, and Bee Gees are to name but a few. Did I mention he can’t pull the albums out from their cover and place them on the turntable himself? Thus, I have been getting a good deep knee bend work out.  Anyway, after listening to an album each time he reflects upon a story back in the day when he was a DJ.  He tells the tale with great enthusiasm and passion.  The light glistens in his eyes as he expresses his secret on how he had the dance floor packed each night he worked the booth.  Somehow as my Stroke Survivor reminisced it registered with me just how much he has music playing all the time.  Often he will turn the TV to the music channels to play continuous music rather than watch a movie or show. When we go outside to sit and enjoy nature he will turn his phone to play music.  And now that we have a 1980’s stereo working he has the radio, DVD or album playing. Suddenly, I became very aware that he like his record on the turntable is rotating in a world from his past.

 

Therefore, as I pondered the thought about my husband I recognized that he has somewhat moved himself, since the stroke, chronologically through time starting back when he was a young boy.  Currently, he is reflecting on the eighties.  On the other side he doesn’t seem to recall much of the more current years.  I said many months after his first stroke that I had learned so much about my husband. He talked about things I had not heard about like his GI Joe collection he sold for a great deal of money, his fort in the basement where he hid from things that scared him, and a tree house outside where no girls where allowed.  As he moved through his years I started feeling like there was so much about him that I didn’t know. I believe he is stuck in the eighties because it was a very happy time of his life.  Oh we still go back to his childhood days when he was just like Karate Kid but more times than not we come back to his DJ days.  Sometimes I am sad when I talk about a memory that involves the two of us like the day he proposed to me and he doesn’t seem to recall.  So, I do find this memory thing an interesting concept my fans and wonder if there are others along with me that are living in their yesterdays?

 

Memory-
I must wait for the sunrise…I must think of a new life…And I mustn't give in…When the dawn comes…Tonight will be a memory too…And a new day will begin

 

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The most meaningful part of Ray's life was when he was a Fisheries Inspector with an office of his own, the years 1973 - 1983.  He told the stories from that period when he first stroked, it was a lot like the Boy's Own Adventure stories. In later years as he slowly lost his distance memories I told them back to him as best I could.  Memories can be happy or sad and sometimes both.  Enjoy your husband's memories while he still recalls them.

 

Sue.

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I so love your writing style strokewife, you have knack of taking readers to phase you are writing about. Fortunately  for me my stroke has become part of our story &  we both have grown & learn lot about each other through going through this stroke valley together. I feel our happy time did not teach as much as ourlean period taught us. I realized together with his support I can climb all mountains together.

 

Asha

 

 

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Hi Strokewife... you need to be a writer.  Beautifully written.  I can relate to what you are going through.  I am not only a stroke survivor (12 and still counting), but a caregiver to my honey of almost 30 years.  He had his strokes, in 2005, in quick succession having one in June of that year and the second that July 4th weekend.  When tested he was at an age 3 level but has progressed over the years to late teens. Seeing both sides, I understand what you are going through. From your writing your husband is sharing very special times with you.  My honey has done that with me since his strokes, as have I.  We both have a tendency to do the "I remember when...." recollections and I wouldn't trade him or those times. Both of us are helping each other to climb our mountains.  I am lucky that my highest mountains to climb came in 1980 and 1982 when I had major strokes...the tia's that I have had since are more like hills rather than mountains to conquer. This has allowed me to be able to work with him on his recovery.  We both relive our yesteryears and it is almost like moving through a personal movie at times.  Sometimes something will bring the memory to surface such as a word or a food or other things and we can sit and talk for hours about those days.  And we both enjoy it though one day it may be honey reliving memories and me the next day. For those who are caregivers and have not been through a stroke it makes it harder, both emotionally and physically, on the person who is the caregiver.

 

Your husbands calming factor is his music which brings back memories. My honey's is the news, Facebook and our puppies.  Mine is my art, my honey and our puppies.  My art has been my lifeline and sanity saver. Thank heaven that I have not lost the ability to do my paintings though my last stroke did cause some lasting damage in other areas.  I wonder if the music is the same for your husband.

 

Sorry for rambling... hope I made sense.  

 

Shannon

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