Friday, January 4, 2013

I Was Here

On New Year's Eve, I woke up from my nap on the couch long enough to catch a single song being played on the television as my husband watched the countdown to midnight.  It was footage of Beyonce singing "I Was Here" at the United Nations for World Humanitarian Day.



I've had the song swirling around my head ever since.  Maybe it was how statuesque and striking Beyonce is in the above footage that first caught my attention.  She looks almost like a superhero in white standing beneath the UN's emblem.  However, the chorus is really was resonates with me.

I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I've done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know 
I was here

When I talk with friends, colleagues, family or total strangers about Alzheimer's Disease, I often get a lot of fear expressed.  I think I've mentioned this before.  They tell me of their fears of loosing the thoughts and memories that they use to define themselves.  They speak of the fear of being aware of the decline.  I don't hear people expressing fear of becoming a care giver to an individual with dementia, interestingly.

I believe that we all want to be remembered in addition to maintaining our own memories.  We want to know that our lives mattered.  If we cannot remember ourselves, then who will remember us?  Who will remember for us?  If we fade from the world before our bodies give out, if our loved ones step away from us because of their own discomfort with our dementia, what mark will we have left?  

If that is the case, then we have waited to long.

You see, Lyn doesn't ask herself these questions.  She never has.  She's never worried about what mark she will leave behind or if people will remember her.  She didn't strive to achieve a level of recognition beyond what the moment brought.  

She was delighted to cite the Athlete's Oath at the start of Special Olympics games.  She was happy to clean your table or restock the cups when she worked at Wendy's.  She was excited to become an aunt and hold a baby.  She danced and sang and squabbled and engaged in each day.  She's achieved more in her life than any of us ever thought she could.  

Lyn has marked several of us.  I suspect there are more than I know who have been touched by meeting her once or knowing her for years.  

Perhaps, dear reader, you have been as well. 

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