Saturday, July 27, 2013


There is a reason this blog is called "Creating memories".  It's because when I was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's the first thing I realized was that my "memories" would fade over time. So, I set out documenting things like the boxes and boxes of photos we had accumulated over the years.  I re-evaluated my "bucket list" to see how many things I could accomplish and realized that I had short time to "create new memories" for my family.

This all came to mind when I was with my son this week.  I shared something with him that I thought I had told him long ago, and his response was "you never told me that".  Then he started to laugh as he recounted all the times in his almost thirty years that he had said that to me.  You honestly don't think to tell your children everything that happened in your childhood.  And, since we don't live near relatives there are not many people around recounting stories of what I did or did not do growing up.

When I look back at my life growing up I realize a lot of it surrounds sports.  My oldest brother was an athlete in high school playing football and basketball.  I don't remember a lot of that because he was so much older than I was (I was in kindergarten when he went off to college), but I do remember some of his broken bones from football.  Long after my brother was out of college he returned home and by then I had taken up many sports including figure skating, tennis and golf, to name a few.  My brother played golf on his college team so when he came home we started playing golf together. When I started working full time, every morning at 5:00 a.m. we would meet at the golf course and play nine holes before we would go off to work. That's how I really got to know my older brother.

My other brother who is two years older than I am was always playing baseball, bowling, basketball or golf.  I was a tomboy and always wanted to be out in the school yard next to our house to play with the guys.  He would put me in the outfield (knowing I hated it), and then would complain to my mom that I was out there turning cartwheels instead of paying attention to the game (which I was).

My dad loved to fish.  He fished almost every day of his life.  He was really into tying his own fishing flies.  My brothers didn't like to go fishing -- they said it was boring.  I wanted to go with my dad, just because I wanted to spend time with him.  He worked nights and would come home and make himself some breakfast, go fishing, come home sleep, get up and start all over again.  So, when I was in school he was  fishing or sleeping and when I was home, he was at work.  So weekends were my time to go fishing with my dad.  He also accompanied my brother and I out on the golf course. Since my dad passed away over thirty years ago, those memories of just the two of us in the boat on hot summer days are precious to me.  I hate to think I will lose them.

My sports were figure skating (and the competitions that went along with that), tennis and golf.  I played an occasional summer league of softball every now and then, but girls were not encouraged into sports when I was growing up.  I loved to be outside so sports is what I was doing, whether on a frozen pond in the winter, or a tennis court in the summer (plus indoor tennis in the winter in Illinois).

The reason I went into this is that many of my "memories" of growing up revolved around sports.  (I was also heavily involved in theater and music but that is for another blog entry.) On my bucket list there are many sporting events that I still want to see and experience with my son.  I'm only reminded of this as this week I received my annual "you did not get tickets in the lottery for the Master's tournament" again -- I've been trying for a long time.  I want to experience that with him as well as my brother -- and although we all enter the lottery every year we don't get tickets.  I also put in the lottery for tickets for an NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament.  I've experienced a Final Four women's tournament with my son, but the men's side is more exciting.  So, we will keep trying and hope that those items come off that bucket list while I am still able to enjoy them.

When we think of "memories" it is mostly about experiences.  My husband doesn't enjoy "experiences".  If I could spend my money any way I wanted I would travel and experience some of the things the world has to offer as well as those sporting events I would like to see.  My husband enjoys "things".  He wants to be able to look at something, hold it, and cherish it.  He didn't have a lot growing up so this is important to him.  We didn't have a lot growing up either, but we had tennis rackets, ice skates and baseballs!  So, we argue a lot in our house about vacations versus things. Making memories is not that important to him.  Fortunately (the way I see it anyway) my son is on my side when it comes to experiences -- he tries to buy gifts for us like tickets to a show, sporting event or to an event we would like to see.

So, I will try to experience what I can and hopefully my son will have fond memories of some of our experiences together -- long after I will be able to remember them.


Carol Noren Johnson said...

Wonderful post, Kris. I think you are remarkable.

Hugs and prayers,

Epoch Elder Care said...

Wonderful!! Suffering from Alzheimer's isnt the end of the world!! You live your life t the fullest Amazing and all the best!