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‘Then there are the holidays. Many expectations I won’t meet’

To be honest, I’m feeling lousy-depressed, anxious, I have a poor appetite, I have muscle cramps and no energy. It’s probably at least in part situational. We’re making a double move. One in December from our rental condo to our country house. Then in spring to a condo that we bought in town. Will be downsizing even further.

We have a house full of stuff that for weeks we have been giving away, throwing away, trying to sell, or trying to find space for in our beautiful country home, which is already full to the brim.

It’s hard. A lot of things have at least a modicum of sentimental value and memories attached to them. A lot doesn’t, but all is deconstructing my comfort zone.

And then there are the holidays. I feel there are many expectations of me that I won’t meet. Will I be the cheerful self I want to be? Will the house bring back good memories for everyone? Will people be satisfied?

Every time I go through a lousy phase like this, I wonder if this is the big shift to more serious dementia. We all know it’s coming. Just when though? What will I feel like when that happens? Will I even notice it? Or will I be too far gone? The implications are huge.

What will be the price my husband has to pay? What about my children and grandchildren? Are we set up to make it all as easy as possible or will we have a lot of last-minute things to do and decisions to make? Have I already done enough? I get depressed when I imagine that inevitable time, so I avoid thinking about it as much as possible.

How will I know when the right time to die is? I don’t want to wait too long. If I do, I may miss the time when I’m aware enough to make the decision or accept the advice of my close friends and family who know the directives I have set out.

I do not want to be remembered as being fragile, unhappy, lost or frightened. It’s not who I am. I’m not that Kim, “the one with the Alzheimer’s. Poor thing.”

I know that I’m going down a rabbit hole with this thinking, but I feel stuck. It’s a waste of time. I get nowhere and the joy I do have is stolen away for me. But here I find myself yet again.

Okay then. Breath. Stay in the now. Do one thing at a time.

Kim Martin splits her time between Hesperus and Durango, and is a former instructor of Asian history, writing and comparative cultures at Fort Lewis College.