Between violently throwing my brains up on the bathroom floor from some unknown 48 hour illness and dealing with the horrible Louisiana weather that has resulted in many of my family members losing a multitude of their possessions, I had a bit of trouble trying to figure out what to write an article about this week. I didn't know what to focus on. I honestly didn't think that I could write anything. I had to do a bit of soul searching to figure out something meaningful. Something with some sort of substance. So I decided to do a reflection on a few of the little things that a lot of us don't truly appreciate until we don't have it anymore.
1. All the photos you never digitized that you shoved in a box or in a drawer.
Every photo of my father before high school was kept in a drawer at his mother's house. We never bothered to view them. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, much of the 9th ward (which is where my paternal grandparents lived) flooded. I have no clue what my father looked like as a child. He doesn't remember. Neither did his mother who was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's Disease. I don't know why it bothers me that there are no childhood photos of my father in my house. I guess when you grow up with those types of photos around, they're not really something that matters to you. I guess it's the loss of them, or the fact that I don't even have the option to ever see them that gives them such importance
2. The ability to breathe with ease.
Ever been sick with a stuffy or runny nose? Feels miserable, huh? Breathing, a natural process, suddenly feels like a chore. When you're in great health, do you ever think "boy, am I glad that my nose isn't runny right now?" Or do you only appreciate breathing easily when, you know, you can't? I often don't think about those things when I'm feeling fine and my nose is doing its job like a champ.
3. The ability to do your favorite thing.
I mentioned earlier that my late grandmother had Alzheimer's. Previous to that, she loved to cook. Cooking was her life. She had worked in a ton of restaurants for the majority of life, including a lot of big name places in New Orleans. She had even recognized on local television as a chef. Cooking food, talking about food, anything food just made her eyes light up. I don't think I've ever met anyone more happy or proud of their craft before in my life.
Some time after she was officially diagnosed, she moved in with my parents and me. I remember one week she was so excited to cook us this big meal. She talked about doing it for a long time. I remember that we were all pumped for it. I remember when the time finally came to cook the meal, I saw her standing at that stove in confusion. I'm not sure, but I think that was the moment that she officially "lost it." The moment that the thing that made her happiest in this world was literally erased from her mind. It wasn't like she forgot the recipe and that we could just Google it. Some things can't be Googled. Talent, heart, passion, your memories, your ability, your motor skills, those things can't be Googled. When parts of your brain waste away and disappear and the thing you loved more than anything in this world is gone forever, you can't always regain that. Sometimes it just ends up lost forever. My grandmother never cooked again.
4. That thing that you were just going to say.
Ever had a thought, something that felt so insignificant or simple at the time, and then you completely forgot it? I've seen people get so mad and frustrated when they lose a thought or an idea. Sometimes they assume that it will come back to them after it wandered off. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it never does. A lot of us don't appreciate those ideas until they're gone and we just can't seem to remember it. I felt like I was going on a great path with this article… until I forgot the fourth idea on this list. I guess I didn't appreciate it when it was in my mind. Well, it's just gone now.