Books I am reading

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Fear of Aging

I had a very vivid dream last night, so vivid I wanted to call my friend and make sure she wasn't really angry with me. Let me explain:

Grandma Stengl 1955
In my dream one of my best friends had hired me to help her with a PR project for her business. We had discussed the possibility a few times, but I was now "officially" meeting with her to get started.
She mentioned an idea we had floated at an earlier discussion, and I could remember none of the details. I asked her to refresh my memory, and she was rather short with me, saying something to the effect that had our pervious meetings been a waste of time. I was taken aback since we usually got along very well. I chalked it up to her having a bad day. But as we proceeded, it became obvious we had gone into a lot of detail in our previous chats, and I remembered none of it. My friend ended up walking away in disgust.
And then I woke up.
After my first thought that I needed to call my friend for reassurance, I realized how foolish that was, and, began to think about what it meant to me. It was all very obvious. My friend represented my competent, professional self, and I represented my current fears. I have been having greater and greater memory problems. I can't think of common, everyday words several times a day. I have always been bad with names of people I only see occasionally, but now it is happening with people I know well but don't see very often.
I have a fairly deep fear of developing dementia. I can't imagine the hell it must be for a productive person to gradually forget how to do things and who people are. My biggest, deepest fear is that I would lose my relationship with God and not recognize His presence with me or experience His comfort any more. And I certainly do not want to lose touch with my family and friends. ANd I don't want to put them through the heart-wrenching experience of my body still being present but the person they know and love not being there anymore.
My current walking program is partly to help stave off dementia as long as possible. I know I have good genes. My grandmother was alert and mentally "present" until a few days before her death. Pretty much the same with my mother. My dad died very young (52), but his mother lived into her 90's and still recognized her children when she died. So Alzheimer's does not run in the family. But I also know that physical and mental activity help decrease the chances of developing dementia.
It is my spiritual fear that runs the deepest. I do not want to let fear run my life, so I keep asking God for faith to believe He will be with me no matter where my life turns. And I am comforted by that, because I know there has never been a moment in my life thus far where He has abandoned me; even in those times when I didn't "feel" His presence, I knew on a deeper level that He was there. I am going to trust that this will be true until I take my dying breath. And then, I will be with Him!