Last Tuesday, August 26, was a special day for us, as it was my girlfriend Amy's birthday, so I just wanted to give an insight into how I dealt with it all. Preparing for birthdays is a little more tricky when you can't remember what someone wants/has already got/needs.
I won't reveal her age, because it is not polite, or gentlemanly. And also she is a few years younger than me!
But as I have said before, Amy has been incredible throughout the course of my injury, and subsequent recovery, so I really wanted to make it an extra special day for her. Shower her with nice presents and show her how much I love and appreciate her, after all, she more than deserves it.
One of the first things I must do is thank my sister, Laura, for all of her help in advising me in what to get Amy, and then sorting out, and most importantly, reminding me, of all of the delivery details for them.
As I have mentioned before (I think) I'm a big list maker, now even more because of memory loss.
So I have to find ways, or 'strategies', to remember everything, so remembering what to get Amy, or certainly what I had got her already, proved a tad tricky.
I am grateful for the 'notes' section on my iPhone, without trying to advertise them too much, so wherever I was, normally at home when Amy was at work, I could then compile ideas and lists and communicate them with my sister.
Another problem with suffering from memory loss, is feeling like you have missed out on big events, now I know me and Amy have been together for two years, that statistic has stuck in there, clearly it is the important things that stay. But, unfortunately, I was convinced this was only the second of Amy's birthdays I have seen, while we have been together.
But it turns out it was actually her third birthday while we have been together, which makes me feel old, even though it wasn't my actual birthday.
Not that it makes a big difference, I just wanted to make it extra special for her because she means so much to me, and she has done so much for me, I just wish I could remember her other two birthdays she has had while we have been together. This is the sad fact of what we face now, we know in these big occasions I probably won't remember them. So we try as much as possible to enjoy them in the moment.
Here's a quick run down of what I got her: with winter coming up, and the fact she is used to warmer climates being from the South coast, I got her some Ugg boots.
Secondly, seeing as she is trying not to eat gluten, I got her a gluten-free cook book, not that I'm telling her to do all the cooking (I'm not sexist!) but I wanted her to know there are plenty of dishes she can still enjoy.
Thirdly, every girl deserves some jewellery, so I got her a Pandora charm bracket, where we can keep buying new charms to add to it in the future.
Plus a few more little things she 'hinted' at as well.
This whole experience was a real test of my planning functions and for my memory. Before my brain injury I was pretty good at being organised with gifts. For our first Christmas together I gave Amy a present every day in December, like a present advent calendar, while I lived in Cheltenham and she in Poole. It took a lot of organisation and a few trips to the post office. Any planning ahead is hard for me now but I am lucky to have family who can help me.
I think, in time, I will accept the fact lists are my new best friend, it is frustrating at times as it limits what I can do and achieve, but hopefully in the long run it will not hold me back and I can go onto surprise Amy even more, probably still with a little help from Laura.