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
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.
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
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.