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Susan G Holland
2 min readJan 12, 2023

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85

EIGHTY FIVE \ A Very Good Year?

SGHolland © Jan. 2023

Yes! I am approaching my 85th birthday..very soon.

The most persistent thing in my head right a feeling of gross loss. But what am I complaining about?

Letting go is good, I am advised. Relax, they say.

Never mind my contemporaries tragically disappearing from earthly existence.

Right NOW, It is my mind that is refusing to step up to …..having words ready…..!!!!!

How can I stand my mind having empty spaces in it? Those spaces in which words used to live?

Never mind the medical terminology, but a person who is pretty good at “knowing how to do life”…that kind of person feels really hacked by literal absent-mindedness.

It’s gross cruelty.

How can it be that I have learned 85 years of stuff and suddenly
cannot speak of it in words?

The part of my mind that visualizes what I want to say inside my head
knows what I mean to say… but the words will not form in my head.

I might as well be a newborn person who has not yet encountered words …squirming in the hands of masked barking creatures who are frightening… and there’s that screaming noise…so close to my ears!!

And what can a newborn say?

NOTHING.

Newborns’ little mouths grope. There is a built-in urgent search for something liquid that tastes like mother-nectar. The illiterate brain knows it needs some nameless thing and the little mouth reaches out, tongue curled.

Well, my big mouth gropes these days! Names of people I have known and loved for years, even people I have spoken with recently, disappear. As if the alphabet is missing from my brain. The word just disappears as if into a manhole.

I stop dead silent and mentally go through the alphabet…and if I am lucky a letter resonates and identifies itself as part of the -name- I- just -cannot remember. But if I follow it with A or B, etc., I may get a “hit” of the right combo…oh, what is that name???

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There’s no describing how much energy I have just applied to remembering one name!

Kind people who know me, they wait, politely, for my brain to grab something. They know that look on my face because they have seen this before..as recently as three minutes ago

This is love in action.

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Anyone who knows me knows that I really don’t suffer from loss of words ! (Some time I will write about the old reel-to-reel tape of me having Christmas with my young children…it’s thick with my play by play narration of words galore.).

I love words. Like babies love milk!

But.

It does help when, alone, in silence, at the quiet computer, I can allow my fingers to pause without that awful frustration when I cannot think what word to write. Sip of coffee time, maybe? Or take a break?

It also good that there are search engines available in case I find myself at a loss for the right words.

The computer is patient. And the delete button is very useful.

SGH

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Susan G Holland

Student of life; curious always. Tyler School of Fine Art, and a couple of years’ worth of computer coding and design, plus 87 years of discovery.