Life and time are marked by so many befores and afters. There is the time before my son was born, and there is the time since. There is the time before Beau’s death, and there is my life after. More recently, there is the time before my book and now there is the aftermath.
The time after Brain in a Jar’s publication has surprised me. I thought it would all be happy happy joy joy. Cocktail parties and congrats. But every time I speak about the book — and I’ve spoken about it at length six times since last Wednesday — I find myself exhausted afterwards. Drained. Depleted. Talking about my dead father and his remarkable life and my extraordinary childhood is difficult. More so than I thought it would ever be.
Yet this book is worth every second of newly acquired fatigue. Why? Because I’m talking with A LOT OF people in the middle space. The time between before and after. The During Folks. Those who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease RIGHT now. They are desperate to share their stories, too.
And I’m more than happy to listen, and to discuss what I’ve learned on my journey through the before and after. I need to be here and now for them.
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This, my dear, is when compartmentalization becomes a necessary tool. You won’t have to rely on cold detached responses to all that you hear… take it all in, listen to them, accept them, and respond to them, then put them in a place along with others where they will become a collection of examples of human suffering and emotion that you will not have to deal with on a daily basis. They don’t go away and you can always call them up when need be.
Hear them, collect them, and keep them in this safe place in your heart and soul.
That is my advice.