For years I have heard the term “living in the present” and never really thought much about it. It sounded a bit New Age to me and I didn’t care much to find out what it exactly means “to be present.” But it dawned on me last week as I sat on a blanket under a tree with my two granddaughters that I have not been present for more than five years. Where have I been? Well, right here! I have been busy not being present.
This is just another shitty part about having FTD in our lives. Before Barry got FTD, I think I was present each day, having fun with our kids and friends and working hard on my books. I loved every minute of it. There wasn’t a third party pushing it’s way into my life.
But when FTD started to turn our lives upside down, I began to feel like I was in a movie. I thought this just can’t be my life I was living.I have watched myself deal with all sorts of issues surrounding Barry’s FTD, but I have felt all along that this is some sort of odd, alternative universe that I am living in. (Talk about New Age!)
First you live with a stranger for years, then he goes into a care center and you visit this stranger there. Life moves forward and wonderful things happen. Babies are born, weddings are celebrated, your kids grow up and find their way, the sun keeps coming up, you live through another winter and then you find yourself living a new life that you never ever dreamed of. Then you realize that you really like many aspects of this new life that you never asked for. Who wrote this script anyway?
All this time, FTD has been present like a film director saying, “Let’s get you holding Barry’s hand and then look sad as the camera pulls back on the shot.” While I am there holding Barry’s hand, I am thinking when can I get out of here? Through every day and every event, FTD has been lurking in the background, muting the feeling of total joy when a baby is born or when I nail it during a big speech. It takes over every decision I make. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing some things in my life because it will make the FTD movie more interesting. Or could it be that I am becoming a more interesting person because of FTD?
The moment with my granddaughters under the tree last week was really the first time in years that I felt totally present. FTD was not there; it was just two little girls with grandma watching the world go by. I held them tight and thought to myself: I am right here right now with these two little girls and I love it.
FTD you have taken way too much. But not anymore. I don’t want to miss another minute of this life I now have! Go away!