Summer finally came to us here in Chorca Dhuibhne (Dingle Peninsula). It had been a long-awaited arrival, as the first part of the season was serially wet and cold.
I’m not talking about the usual sort of damp and chilly we might complain about here. No one here can remember a single day in June that it didn’t rain at some stage, and most of us put either the heating or the fire on more than once in July.
Even an early August heatwave that warmed the rest of the island seemed to leave us behind: As the midlands warmed, the air heated and rose, which sucked in the cool Atlantic mist and kept us in jumpers (sweaters to our American readers) for weeks.
But then it finally happened … a stretch of three hot days (hot by our standards) with clear skies day and night, just in time to view the Perseids by lying out on a blanket in the back garden.
Suddenly, All Was Forgotten
The bright mornings brought smiles to every face we met as my wheaten terrier, Maggie, and I got our morning walks in before the day’s heat took that one out of my deck. It was like everyone had forgotten about the abysmal weather we’d had since, well, since the early autumn of 2021, if I’m being honest. It’s been that sort of a year.
But there we were, reveling in the summer weather we’d been promised and denied for months.
“Isn’t it stunning?” we ask as a greeting. “Fabulous, altogether,” “Glorious, thank God,” and “Couldn’t beat it if you tried” were just some of the answers in response.
I Remembered, Though
Me, I’m a little darker. “Ara sure. We paid for this one in advance … with interest.”
Because, unlike those who were experiencing what I call “selective amnesia,” I seem to remember that it’s been worse and will be worse again. I guess it’s my multiple sclerosis (MS) experience speaking, and there are similarities.
When I’m having a stretch of not-so-bad days, it can be easy to be lulled into a sense of normalcy at the ease of endeavors that can take so much effort on the not-so-good ones. On a really good day, I think we all know the experience of (over) doing things that had been out of reach for so long that we want to get it done while we can … and we know how that turns out.
Like the children on summer holidays who put on their bathing costumes and run headlong into the freezing waters only to return, blue-lipped and racked with shivers, we so want to do what we’re “supposed” to be able to do, to the point where we’re no longer paying the piper for the dance but rather tipping the executioner for a clean swipe of his ax.
There Are Times When I Succumb to Amnesia
I’ve also found that when I've had an opportunity to spend a few hours (or a few days) with others living with MS, their energy can lift me into that state of amnesia (or denial, or avoidance).
It may seem odd that being around people with multiple sclerosis can make me forget about my version of the disease. Maybe “forget” isn’t the right word. The positives mined from a crowd of like-minded fellow travelers of our collective path can leave me feeling so much better, even if I crash in my hotel room halfway through a day’s meetings.
Occasionally Forgetting Has Its Good Side
We did not choose to have MS. We cannot change so very many aspects of the disease. We mayn’t be able to accept the limitations on most days.
There are some days, however, when a little conscious forgetting can bring on that selective amnesia, and we’re ready to jump into the frigid waters like a schoolchild who just can’t wait for a warm day.
Summer break is only so long … and so is life with MS, so, here’s to forgetting sometimes.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.