A side profile of a woman reflecting on the past as a younger version of herself is dancing and twirling happily to music on an old record.

My Mind Serenades Me with Memories of Life Before MS

"...Memories light the corners of my mind

Misty water, colored memories

For the way we were…"

Memories of a time before MS

I hear the melody in my head and then the lyrics follow, the lyrics my mind sings to me of yesteryear, of what 'we' - as in my body and I - used to be before multiple sclerosis began its melee in "our" life. Memories which light the corner of my mind of the time prior to living with a chronic, debilitating disease. Memories of living without fatigue, sensory issues, temperature sensitivity, extremely impacted fine and gross motor skills, a lack of independence, etc. My mind's antics reel me into a reflective mode as it melodiously reminds me of the drastic change from my past to my present.

"...Scattered pictures

Of the smiles we left behind

Smiles we gave to one another

For the way we were …"

My daily routine 12 years ago

Reflecting on memories of 12+ years ago, my mind goes back to waking up to my daily alarm, prompting me to get up to prepare for work and get the children ready for school. Walking into my closet, stepping in and out of the shower, getting dressed, walking into the kitchen to grab breakfast and lunches and then walking to the bus stop to see the children off. Getting into the car - minus hand controls and folding assistive mobility devices to secure in the trunk or backseat - driving to work and trotting to my office to perform a job that I loved so much.

A household running like clockwork

With the workday complete, I'd leave to drive home, get the children and head to the kitchen to begin preparing dinner- always a meat, starch, and vegetable. I'd help with homework, listen to school shenanigans from the day, watch a little television, get the children off to bed, and have some me-time before turning in myself. And I was happy to complete my routine the next day and the next.

Fond weekend memories

Then there was Saturday morning before the days planned activity when I completed a 'good' household cleaning - vacuuming, mopping, dusting, etc. - to the chosen music genre to sing along with to keep my momentum going. Once the household was spic and span and smelling lemon fresh, it was time to select outfits for the day, get the children ready and head out to my car - minus hand controls and folding assistive mobility devices to secure in the trunk or backseat - and head to the fun spot for the day such as the mall, park, carnival that may be visiting, family's home, etc. Ahhh and Sundays! Donned in our Sunday best, we'd go to church and Sunday dinners at my parents oftentimes and effortlessly get inside.

"...Could it be that it was all so simple then

Or has time rewritten every line?

If we had the chance to do it all again

Tell me, would we? Could we?..."

I took so much for granted

I subconsciously took so much for granted. Living didn't seem easy or difficult - it just 'was'. I definitely had no thought or care to things like an extreme loss of energy after the most minute activity like utilizing my digits to, for example, give a thumbs up or down, throw up a peace sign, or in annoyance, erect my middle finger (I'm just saying if I were so inclined... I stress if!). I had no concerns about my ability to write (literally), answer my own front door, run in the store, cook, or go to bed (literally). No worries about a building's structure, accessibility, bathroom location..stuff like that. Should I venture into those years again and knowing what I know now? Ohhh, how I'd relish them!

"...Memories can be beautiful

Beautiful and yet, and yet, and yet

What is too painful to remember

Could be, we simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter

We will remember. …"

Creating beautiful new memories

My mind serenades me of yesteryear and even if it may not sound like it, not totally melodramatically. No, fortunately, I also have harmonious recollections - pre and post-MS. For instance, my first child birthed prior to MS and our life without it and the memories of my second child birthed shortly prior to my diagnosis and our life - getting in what we can while we can - as we collectively learned to manage our new normal. With a chuckle, a smile, and sometimes a sigh, I choose to focus on moving forward creating beautiful new memories and grooving to the euphonious song of the fond remembrances that whichever region of my brain affords me.

(Quoted song: The Way We Were by Barbara Streisand)

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