This is my story. Other people passing in and out of this story may see or remember the events portrayed differently. They may wish to argue with the way I describe the events, but this is my story and I can only tell it from my own point of view.
It is important to understand that if we are all in the same room when something major happens and we are all interviewed afterwards, the stories we tell will all be vastly different. It may seem that none of us was even in the same room, possibly not even in the same universe. This is because we all have different points of views and different background knowledge on which we base our interpretations of the events that took place.
This is my story based on my memories of what took place over the last twenty years. I will be telling it in stages. I hope that in telling this story you may learn something that will cause you to reflect on the meaning of life and on your relationships. Whether it causes you to reflect on anything will depend totally on you and your life experiences and will have nothing to do with me. All I am doing is telling my story.
I did not want to have any part of this blog be about my personal life or family. I wanted this blog to be only about myself as a writer; therefore, it would all be about Manee Trautz – my pen name. However, I feel it is safe to tell this story. I feel this story is part of the reason I have been inspired to write and am writing to inspire.
I am going to tell this story in stages. Each day I will add a little more. It is my intention to have each section end with something to inspire reflection. That is my intention, but I make no promises!
Part One: My Father
My father was born in New York City in the 1920’s. He was highly intelligent even back then. He skipped grades and went to a top school for engineering. He was able to understand things that would make my head spin. His had an engineering mind, and he just understood things I could never grasp. Whenever his company had problems, they would call on him because his mind could always find a solution. He understood computers before anyone I knew had even heard of them.
My father was also a very spiritual/religious man. He raised me in a home where church on Sunday wasn’t a question. We said prayers at every meal and at other times throughout our lives. If we were camping, he would have the prayer book out and we would have a service of Morning Prayer around the table. We never had to question what he believed; he was an open book of prayer.
Around twenty years ago, I was living at home with my parents and my father was retired. He spent his time on his computer, camping, sailing, praying (of course), and reading. He read constantly!
I remember one of his favorite subjects involved the brain and synapses. He was struggling to understand the complexities of the brain. I had graduated college with a degree in psychology and had taken graduate classes on reading and learning disabilities. The brain was a subject that fascinated both of us.
He would tell me in detail about how it matters if the words we forget are verbs or nouns. One is normal aging or caused by stress; the other is a sign of deterioration. It was a big deal to him. I just did not understand exactly why. I had my mind on other things.
At the time, we were busy planning for a major event – my wedding. It was exciting, of course, but it was also stressful. I don’t remember much about what happened with my father while getting ready for my wedding other than he seemed to be fascinated by the brain, constantly rehashing details of the wedding, and very sentimental. I loved my daddy, he loved me, and it was an exciting time.
As my father walked me down the aisle, I was in an emotional state I could not easily explain. Let’s just say I was quite happy. The priest said, “Who gives this woman to ….” My father responded. Then, I don’t know what I was thinking; I reminded him that he was supposed to lift my veil.
My father’s tone was defensive. He said, “I know, I’ve done this a few times you know.”
I smiled, and I thought we were just nervous. It was a big day after all!
What I realize now, twenty years later, is that my father wasn’t upset that I reminded him of the veil. My father was upset because there were so many synapsis in his brain that had stopped making connections. My father was forgetting things and not just the nouns or the verbs. He did not want me to know this.
He was struggling with an internal conflict that he could not understand and he was not going to admit to anyone else. He was strong, intelligent, and loving. That was what we saw, that is what we knew. That’s all he wanted us to know.
I remember thinking he was turning to go before finishing his duty of lifting my veil. Maybe he had forgotten the veil, and maybe he hadn’t. All I know is that is the first time I remember him being so defensive. It was my first memorable sign that things were about to change forever, things that had nothing to do with my getting married.
This was the beginning of a new journey – the trip down Memory Lane where the road deteriorates into a series of potholes.
Welcome to Alzheimer’s – destination unknown.