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My early memory linked to smell

Growing up in Chicago, public transportation was the mode of commute for my family for many years. As I understood it, we used to live on the west side of Chicago before we moved to the south side. I will confirm this with my siblings later.

We lived on the West side until I was about 5. I don’t remember our street name or anything, but I do remember sometimes catching the train with my mom. My favorite part about the train station was the different stores with treats. The aromas were so enticing. I don’t remember exactly what the products were (imagine bakeries, candy carts/shops, and food carts, etc.) The train station was so full of life with people scurrying around.

Years later, probably my late teens to early twenties, I found myself in the vicinity of that train station again. I think I was meeting a friend. That’s the only reason I could think to be there. I was greeted with the same enticing aromas, of which I hadn’t smelled in years. Deja vu hit the pit of my stomach like a bomb. The smells conjured up so many cloudy memories and emotions.

It was smaller than I remembered. The shops and general area were older and worn. I had mixed emotions because this was a part of my history, yet I barely remembered it visually. That train station had seen thousands of people pass through, no doubt, including my mom and me. And life passes by so quickly. I wish to smell that place again someday.

Bloganuary: Day 16 prompt

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Lost treasure

Hydrocephalus was a mystery to us. We never heard of it until May 2016 in an emergency room of all places. We had been going about our lives, and then this condition came along. And it came with a vengeance – confusion, unsteady gate, and memory loss. The most insidious of the symptoms was the memory loss. How did he get it? Why did he get it? What caused it?

The worst didn’t come until December 2017 when he had to be hospitalized for 3 weeks, followed by 3 months of 3 different therapies (speech, occupational, physical). Could you imagine not knowing things you used to know with all certainty, like what city you live in, the year, how to walk, what you did 5 minutes ago, or how to read or do basic math?

I couldn’t imagine, but I lived it with my husband, Bryan, when we learned he had this strange (to us at the time) condition called hydrocephalus – water on the brain. It’s a condition where the spinal fluid floods the brain. It stole a treasure trove of his precious memories. Some have come back. Some come and go. And some are lost forever.

I naturally forget some things as I get older. We all do that. Our brains hold our precious memories, which to me is like treasure. When I’m feeling down, I can recall moments like when I watched how much fun my son had playing with his little cousins in Chicago last September, which boosts my mood. When I’m missing someone I love dearly like my mom, I can pull from my treasure of memories and end up feeling close to her again. When I’m stressed, I can recall our time at the beach last summer when the waves and sand were tickling my butt….utter peace and joy.

My husband is doing so much better, but it’s a condition we are living with. He often impresses me with what he can remember. He sometimes remember things I’ve forgotten.

The brain is a fascinating masterpiece. It holds a treasure trove of precious memories, and losing memory is devastating. I write my thoughts so I don’t forget.