Last night, we rented a romantic video called The Notebook which seemed like a fine notion for Valentine's Day. In fact, it was a fine notion, a fine movie, a fine romantic drama. It was not altogether airy and light, however: to the point where both Cuppa and I were left as blubbering heaps as the final credits rolled past our tear-blurred eyes.
Let me confine myself to revealing that the plot revolves around a love story that spans decades and that it also involves Alzheimer's or some form of old-age memory-loss. An old man in a retirement residence reads his story from a notebook, a story of him and his young love, to a female resident who is suffering from the dreaded affliction: the dreaded affliction which also causes me some angst.
Just over six years ago now, we buried my father. He had lived to a ripe old age and died from cancer which began in the prostate. In the last few years of his life, he also lost much of his cognitive grip on external reality. While he never lost the ability to identify those close to him, he did lose his sense of time and place — of the present and quite a lot of the past too.
Just two nights ago, I opined to Cuppa that I had some reason to believe that this same ineluctable process may be beginning to occur in me. I notice that some words begin do their best to elude my tongue. Just the other day, I had to reminded of the word for something that spells the same forward or backward: a palindrome — not an unfamiliar word to me. "Do you remember?" becomes a question that more and more frequently seems to draw a negative response from my lips.
Perhaps I overreact; perhaps not. Whatever the case, the synchronicity of uttering my concerns one day and seeing the movie on the next was profoundly disturbing to say the least. Perhaps that is why the film so moved me. Perhaps someone who remains immortal would not be so moved. Perhaps someone without some familial history of Alzheimer's would not be so moved.
I remember when I became mortal or, to be precise, realized that I was mortal. It occurred in my late thirties, and I believe that I have mentioned it before in this blog-stream that I offer humanity, so I will refrain from much elaboration. Suddenly, however, or so it seemed, the realization was there, there where it hadn't been a moment, or an hour, or a month before. While we all know about our mortality in a vague way, I suppose it takes an existential moment for it to be made palpable to our souls.
So it is that I do not know whether it is my age and history that caused The Notebook to so move me. But move me it did and not in an altogether forlorn way despite moving me to tears. It was more touching than sad, more uplifting than depressing. It must be, therefore, a five star recommendation from this poor sod. Or is it four stars? I forget which system I employ (he said in a feeble attempt at humour.)
Whatever my lurking future, I do know and once again repeat my mantra that our lives lie in the moment, this moment. The past is a bucket of ashes; the future lies shrouded in the mist. I write in my life's notebook as each day unfolds itself and trust that it will be a good story in the end.