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The path of recovery from a voracious illness like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is uneven and sometimes hard to find. The more years you've been sick with CFS the more bewildering the recovery map -- or lack of one -- can be.
I forgot who I used to be in many ways. I had been this leaden CFS lump in a housecoat with bad hair for so long, memories of my former life seemed like stories about someone else.
I could hardly remember having energy with things to do, places to go. As I eventually began to rise up from under CFS, I had no clue as to how to get back to even a slim semblance of that again.
Not too long ago, I decided to get rid of some neglected piles in my house. I'm not talking about newspapers on the floor, or the basket overflowing with clean laundry. Not a mound of junk mail needing to be sorted and tossed before it takes over the table.
This stuff has been sitting abandoned for years.
I have a drawer full of paperwork that has not been touched in a decade. It holds bank statements and receipts for things paid for ten years ago.
Floppy discs. (Yes. Really.) Old music cassettes. Half-used coloring books.
This in a family where the kids' ages range from 21 to 29.
I have a closet that has five pairs of roller blades my kids haven't touched or thought of in a decade. Old decorations, forgotten jackets and scarves.
I think of this stuff as The Remains. I don't use this term lightly. It refers to what is left after life has departed.
The Remains have been squatting about my house since the day I dropped the ball, and could no longer think or function because the life was being squeezed out of me by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Occasionally I've cast a furtive glimpse in their direction, thinking, I need to tackle those one day. But each time I knew that it would have to be some other day.
It wasn't their contents that made The Remains so overwhelming. They're rather like snapshots, in a way, stills of what was going on in my life up till the time my life stopped. It's just that from that time to this, I didn't have the brain power or ability required.