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So, I’ve written before about my health issues, and while I don’t want to bring anyone down, I do like to share what I’ve learned from having MS.

Like the time I took my son, Cole, and his friends, Luke and Nick, to the movies a few years back. On the way out, I asked if they’d seen another movie that was out at the time. “So did you guys see Thor?” Without batting an eye, Luke replied, “Yes, we saw it last week. You took us. Remember?”

But he knew I didn’t. The upside is that these kids are like family, and they’re used to my sieve-like memory. It didn’t phase them. When people are understanding of your limitations, it makes you feel supported.

That’s why I was so thrilled to come across this article about a cafe that employs dementia patients, called “The Restaurant of Order Mistakes.” So you ordered a hamburger? Well, how about some dumplings instead! This shows that if people are aware of your story, they give you more latitude.

It goes back to my theory that there’s always a story, and everyone is dealing with something, often something that’s not visible to the naked eye.

People have taken the challenges of their own pasts and turned them into positive action.

These men took the pain of coming to another country penniless and hungry, and turned it into a kind deed, offering people a free meal if they have no money.

Sometimes a small act of compassion can restore one’s faith in humanity. This hairdresser with a posh client list reaches out to people on the street with his “Do Something for Nothing” campaign, offering haircuts to the homeless. It’s amazing to see what this simple kindness can do for a person who often feels invisible. One gentlemen looked at himself after his haircut and asked, “Why did you do that for me? It’s not an everyday thing.” The hairdresser’s answer was, “I loved hearing your story.”

It’s nice to know we can write the story as we go, and we’re all in it together.

raysMy memory has always been something of a moving target. I’ve actually thought about leaving my brain to science – while I’m still alive. It won’t do much toward medical progress to take a look at my grey matter under a microscope after I’m gone. No, you’d have to observe me in my natural habitat to see how my mind works (and sometimes doesn’t work) to really get a feel for how I process life and experience the world.

Even in my twenties, I knew my sense of recall left much to be desired, so I signed up for a course called “Improve Your Memory in 30 Days.”

Of course, you can probably see the punchline coming a mile off… Yep, you guessed it. I plum forgot about the class. Not only did I not attend, I actually went out with friends that night, and in the middle of our evening, a tiny light bulb dimly flickered on. “I was supposed to go to a Memory Course tonight. I forgot!” My friends thought it was a joke; we all laughed drunkenly and ordered the next round.

After I became a mother, I heard the term “Mommy Memory,” which implies that the added responsibilities of motherhood also chipped away at our ability to recall things we needed to do. 

Then I found out I had MS, and it, too, impinged upon my cognitive faculties. 

So I decided that you can’t fight city hall.

I can’t be a Great Rememberer (to coin a phrase); instead, I’ll strive to be a Better Forgetter.

This means selectively sifting through memories and choosing to remember only the experiences that enrich, embolden or entertain me.

There isn’t room anymore to hold onto snippets of bygone days that were dark and dreary. There’s only space for what’s bright and beautiful. As I see it, there’s no need to live in a cold, windowless basement when you can sit in the sunroom and soak in the light and warmth.

To tell you the truth, I really don’t give half a hoot about the way we were. It’s all about the here and now, the beauty and the blessings, from this point on, and – thank Heaven! – every day is a fresh start.

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Have a Mary Little Christmas

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