First of all, I am not a hypochondriac. Well, maybe you should define hypochondriac first. I did this subconscious mind test thing on tickle.com, I think, and got ‘romance’ as the answer the first time I did it, and ‘health’ the second. I chose to negate the second one, since it’s obvious that the accuracy of the test had been sullied by my taking it the second time. Anyhow, that’s the only defense I have for what I’m about to say next. I don’t imagine having illness that I, in reality, don’t. I don’t fantasize about getting a dramatic disease. I like being healthy. I thank God each day for my body. I feel good about it. It’s not perfect (who feels their body is?) but it’s a lot better than others’ my age.
That said, what is my secret fear? It’s to get Alzheimers. I am a really forgetful person. I was in denial about this till recently, when I forgot (and temporarily lost) my teacher’s log book (It’s like a super-important all-in-one planner. It belonged to the teacher I was taking over for right when I joined school, and contained everything I needed to continue). Obviously I started freaking out, since I needed it to make the student’s report cards. Someone found it and sent it to the principal’s office. She was NOT happy. I told her that I’m anally cautious of my belongings and I never lose anything (Like I said, I was in denial, plus I actually don’t lose anything at home) only to forget the teacher’s copy of the grade 4 textbook in the grade 6 classroom the very next day. I asked around for it in the grade 4 room, thinking I’d left it there. Went by the principal’s office only to see in poisonously lying on her desk. She wasn’t there, so I swiped my book and ran off with it. Wasn’t able to avoid her for long. I wasn’t in trouble or anything, but I was horribly embarrassed. This is not supposed to happen when you are trying your best to NOT let it happen. I’m scared.
I keep thinking back to the Korean film A Moment to Remember starring Sohn Ye-jin(Personal Taste, The Art of Seduction and many others) and Jung Woo-sung(Padam Padam, The Good, The Bad, The Weird) which was a beautifully told story about love and EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S. That movie left me crying for days. It was so hauntingly sad! It was moving and gut-wrenching and inspiring and full of life and loss and love….I have no lack of adjectives to further describe the film, but you get my drift. In it, the leads, both of whom have very different personalities and backgrounds, accidentally meet because of a incident caused by Ye-jin’s forgetfulness. We think it’s just because she’s been cast away by her lover, who failed to show up at the train station where they assumedly were planning on running off together. They meet again at her father’s construction site, where she takes a fancy to him and follows him around, despite never having met or dealt with anyone like him. Gruff, rough, and of very little words, but deeply deeply loving. She enters his life and smoothes his rough edges. He gives her all the adoration and love she never got from her previous boyfriend. They get married, which also came with it’s share of hurdles to overcome. By then, you are so absorbed in the film, you’re not consciously aware of any problem that the plot is moving towards or in the process of overcoming. You’re just living in the moment with the protagonists, living their lives with them, as it unfolds on the screen. Then little thing start to go missing. Which add up and create a sense of unease deep within you. You pray things’ll be fine. It’s just your imagination, right? You, along with Ye-jin (Sorry, I;m too lazy to go look up her character’s name) are both in denial. You think back to how they first met, and start to fit the puzzle pieces together. She finally goes to a neurologist, who delivers the earth shattering new that she’s got Alzheimer’s and will lose everything that makes her who she is, all her memories, everything, within the next few months. Sohn Ye-jin is such an amazing actress, it really fills me with awe. Every scene with her is moving. Either it’s moving with its natural grace and subtlety or tear-inducing with its raw emotive strength. I dunno. She just made me cry a lot. She goes home and pretends everything is alright. She quits her job, in an effort to spend as much time with her husband before things start slipping away. He doesn’t know anything and is happy to have her at home. She asks him if he wants a child. My heart bleeds. Anyhow, he finds out. Then both amazing actors make me cry buckets. The love between them is tangible. He tells her that he’ll take care of her. He promises it. Life goes on. There are good days and bad days. She gets worse and he outwardly remains a pillar of strength, despite dying inside. One scene, though left a ginornous gash in whatever was left of my heart. He’s leaving for work, and she says she loves him, and CALLS HIM BY HER EX BOYFRIENDS NAME. He doesn’t even bat an eye lash, and smiles at her before leaving. It’s when he closes the door behind him that his face crumples up and the unstoppable tears come out again. It’s agonizing to witness. Long story short, he eventually realizes that he can’t take care of her. He can’t guarantee her safety while he’s gone, and her condition keeps on deteriorating. He doesn’t want to, but is persuaded by her parents that sending her to a home for people like her would be best for her. He realizes, regretfully, that he never told her he loves her. It was understood that he did, but he never actually said it to her. He thinks it too late, but one day after realizing that he can still bring her back, goes to see her. He takes her to a convenience store like the one where they met, filled with a cast of the people in their lives. They act like regular shoppers and staff, while some even cry looking at her. She looks around, confused at the familiarity of their faces and the situation. She remembers. He tells her he loves her. They drive into the sunset.
BUT SHE STILL DIES FROM ALZHEIMER’S DOESN’T SHE? HE STILL IS DEPRIVED OF A LONG AND FULL LIFE OF HER COMPANY! THEY DON’T GROW OLD OR HAVE KIDS OR GRANDKIDS. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO STOP CRYING?! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO NOT FREAK OUT WHEN SHE STARTED OFF DOING THE SAME FORGETFUL THINGS I DO?!
Calm down, Jawa. Calm down.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CALM DOWN? SHOULD I ADD ‘CRAZY’ TO MY LIST OF FEARS? SINCE I’M HAVING A FICTIONAL CONVERSTION WITH MYSLEF?!
Oh, man. So you see, I am scared I’ll get Alzheimer’s. My grandfather’s sister has it. There. That makes me susceptible, doesn’t it? I loved the movie, but the seed of discontent it had planted is growing into an ugly weed. Must not think about this anymore. Commenters! Please console me! Tell me I’m stupid and that this is perfectly normal. Even if I won’t really believe you since I told you to say so! …Maybe a not-so-smart-move on my part.