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
Laurie this is a beautiful post! May you continue to listen to music of all manifestations (including the birds and the foxes) and learn what it is that is beautiful and special in these moments. You write stunningly well Laurie, thank you for sharing these thoughts and for bringing them to my attention via The Young Onset Dementia Support Group on Facebook. Denise x