Marja’s friend from her childhood in Finland arrived last night. I didn’t expect to have to “tend” to her at all, but Marja had to work this morning. She doesn’t speak a word of English, and she’s difficult to speak to even in her native tongue. What has bothered me the most is that I’m really having trouble communicating in Finnish. Our family has lived in Finland for two separate year-long periods and many summer vacations, and I’ve studied Finnish intensely. My Finnish is not perfect, but under normal circumstances, I’m pretty fluent. And Marja and I spend some time almost every night talking in Finnish so as not to lose it. So my Finnish isn’t rusty. But I’m finding it very difficult to speak Finnish with our guest. The easiest words are difficult or impossible to find. I can’t use the (admittedly complex) grammar well.
I understand what Marja or her friend is saying just fine, but I’m losing the active vocabulary. Is this from my Alzheimer’s? I can’t be sure, but I have always enjoyed speaking with Finns. Will I have to let this go, too? I’ve said it before, this is a disease of constant losses … and it’s hardly started.