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Why Am I Still Me?

An (almost) spontaneous log/blog of thoughts about why I have retained my identity, and the nature of that identity. Entries are in reverse chronological order, beginning on 2017-06-09, which entry begins:

“This is an experiment; An experiment of the self. It is written by my self, for my self, and of my self, but not necessarily to myself. If it were to myself it would not appear it in a public place. The subject matter is my self, but it is not about me, myself, but about my self.” I am doing this just to see and document how long I can continue to speak for my self. At my age (B-1945), one never knows."

 


 

2017-06-13:

I have two fathers. One of them died last night. He is the one my mother married when I was about nine years old. Myself and my two sisters were eventually adopted so that we could be sealed to our new father in the LDS temple. This happened when I was about thirteen. It means we believe we are sealed to him and my mother in a family relationship for time and all eternity. While I do not have any logistical information on how this will be implemented, I do accept it as a matter of faith.

Last night at about eleven, my little sister called to say Dad was very sick and not expected to live much longer. They were moving a hospital bed into their house, as well as continued administration of oxygen and morphine. They live a little over five hundred miles away, and I had already planned on going to see him less than two weeks from now, so told her I would visit then. I did not expect to hear from her again for at least a few days, but she called back about three thirty that morning, to tell me he had passed away.

My wife and I spent this morning making plans and contacting each of our children to keep them informed. About ten thirty this morning my wife went to visit an elderly lady in our church congregation. She has visited this lady on a monthly basis for around five years.

Joan is ninety years old and rarely leaves the house, so my wife was delivering a few groceries, then they sat down to visit. The first thing Joan did after saying, "how are you?" was to ask if my Father had died.

Although Joan knows that my father has been on hospice care, she had no reason to suppose his death was eminent. She does not know him, and he does not particularly come into conversations we have with her. She lives with her daughter who has Leukemia, and neither of them is much healthier than my father was when I visited him last month. Since I was not even present, she had no reason to bring up me, or my father.

My wife was amazed at her question, and said, "how did you know that?" Joan said that she had dreamed that my father died last night. My wife related these things to me as soon as she came home from that visit this morning. I do not know why this happened, but what I want for my father is for him to be able to retain his identity insofar as that is possible. This is also what I want for myself, my children, and everyone else I care about; which is an ever expanding community.

 

2017-06-09:

This is an experiment; An experiment of the self. It is written by my self, for my self, and of my self, but not necessarily to myself. If it were to myself it would not appear it in a public place. The subject matter is my self. It is not about me, myself, but about my self.

Some folks believe there is no such thing. I disagree. I have been in this mortal coil for a little over seventy two years. I have not been myself for that entire time, but at least for the larger part. For instance, an interesting event occurred sixty six years ago that caused me to reboot myself. Over the long term it is not that important. As time goes on, what I am and who I am, is less and less about that event.

On a daily basis that event may be the defining element of who and what I am, but that would only be because it defined a path I had to take to get from there to here. This suggests that a little more detail may not be amiss, so here it is. Even at seven or eight, I remember being disturbed because I could remember almost none of my childhood. The situation may seem humorous now, but it wasn’t so funny to a seven year old, just a bit disturbing. I mention it, as I say, because it may pertain to the subject at hand. I do remember the instant I woke up from the reboot process. I remember exactly where I was sitting, and the children sitting around me. We all sat on those small chairs made of metal and contoured plywood for grade schools. I sat in a small circle of second graders reading from a first grade textbook. A little girl directly across from me was one of five or six children present. She was struggling to read about Dick and Jane. I looked down at the book and noticed there were only two or three words on each page.

Since I was always in the highest reading group I assumed I must be dreaming of being back in first grade, so I sat back and relaxed a bit. I looked at the big rectangular heating element to my left, and then out toward the wall of windows to the north, which was straight in front of me. The entire wall was filled with windows but my view seemed limited to the western most three or four vertical rows of these windows even though there should have been eight or ten within my view. As the little girl finished reading her two or three pages, her voice trailed off and the room became silent. Then, suddenly a voice from behind me ripped through the silence.

I almost jumped out of my chair. A real voice had just imposed itself into my dream. I twisted myself around to the right, and saw a teacher standing behind me. It was her voice. And I was not dreaming.

Within a week or so I was back in the top reading group, and never thought much about it until I was around thirteen. We then lived over a hundred miles away and I had a new father, a new home, and a new life. While sitting in the kitchen one day my mother mentioned about how I had dropped to the lowest reading group at school and remained there for about a month. The teacher had called her in, and discussed what to do, but they decided to just wait and see if I came out of it. Had my mother never validated the event from her side of the experience, I would have just gone on thinking the whole thing was just some kind of lucid dream, but apparently it really happened.

The point is, that I cannot actually vouch for my self during those first six years. All I can say is that there was a residual sadness, apparently I cried a lot, and I was neither competitive nor aggressive. Some of those may still apply.

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