I remember the fear, anger and loneliness I felt the day the doctor gave his official diagnosis of Progressive Degenerative Impairment evolving into Alzheimer’s or an FTD. Hearing those words, created a flood of emotions and questions, but I couldn’t react.
Having lost the ability to multitask, perform simple math, or follow instructions, combined with a decline in verbal communication and comprehension; deep down, I think I already knew. The doctors were just giving it a label. As a career person, being told I would not be able to maintain a successful career, it felt like my life was ending. So I turned to my music and found comfort in singing about the fears.
My most difficult day of this illness was on Aug 17th. From the time I was 11, music has been my outlet – for joy, sadness, heartbreak and fun. I have been able to express myself playing my guitar (“Olivia”), writing songs, singing and performing. On that day, when I picked up Olivia to sing in Church, it seemed like a foreign object. I couldn’t remember how to hold it, much less how to play. I felt like my very essence had been drained – my soul had been ripped out. How could I express my love, a beautiful sky, a heartache, or make people smile, without my songs and Olivia? How could I live without my music?
Two months later, at times I can remember how to play and combine the chords and the words, but it is becoming less. Now more than ever, I long to be able to take Olivia and write about this disease, to cry and laugh and find comfort in her strings. Instead, I listen to the songs of the birds outside my window, the screech of the barn owl or the cries of the baby fox. I don’t think I ever listened to them before – perhaps, God is trying to open my ears, eyes and heart to new things. I will start to listen more carefully.
Love & Laughter, Laurie
Written By Laurie Scherrer