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Feeling better

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 I had a lovely visit with Ash this morning and, as a consequence, am feeling much better life for both of us.   I must admit that my heart sank shortly after I got there.  I'd been greeted with the tightest hug which was wonderful but that was followed by complaint after complaint about how everyone there was horrible.  I didn't quite believe him but it did all make me wonder and I wondered right up until we walked out of the door and he started telling me how lovely everyone was!  Today I thought we'd try the garden centre only that meant going in the car and I wondered how he'd cope.  Needn't have worried because he chatted all the way there about everything we drove by which was in complete contrast to the silent journeys we made at home and just showed how much happier he is in himself. We were out a couple of hours and Ash chatted the whole time.  Not all of it made sense but there were some very astute comments about the price of Christmas decorations in comp

Grief

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 This post might seem at odds with the one I wrote yesterday but if you've lost someone you love you'll know how emotions differ from day to day and even moment to moment.   Yesterday I was happy from beginning to end of the day.  Today not so much which is why I've decided that grief is a very odd thing.   I'm not missing Ash because he hasn't been 'my' Ash for so long that I'm already used to being without him.  I'm happier than I've been for years, much more relaxed and looking forward to whatever the future brings and yet ..........  And yet there are moments when thoughts of him come out of nowhere and knock me sideways.  Mostly, I've realised, they're not to do with memories but more that I know the old Ash would have loved the things I have planned.  He'd have loved the trip to see friends in Australia (we've been twice and I think he always thought of himself as an honorary Australian), he'd have loved the 9 year old c

It's beginning to look a lot like .......

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 No decorations up yet, they're waiting until Jake and the 9 year old are here next weekend, but Alexa's been playing Christmas music all day and I'm getting in the swing of it all. I took my 'robin' mug out of the cupboard this morning and felt just a little sad when I remembered that I bought it last year to cheer myself up and to help inject some Christmas spirit into my life.  Apart from the very scaled down decorations that was it so this year I've decided there should definitely be more. I've already bought myself a Christmas hat which is bright red with white fur trim.  I was about to include a link to it so that you could see how lovely it is but they seem to have sold out so you'll have to wait until I've taken a photo. Then there's the robin mug, the Christmas quilt cover I've bought for the 9 year old to use next weekend, and the research I'm doing for presents.  I love present buying. I like thinking about what people will lik

Scars

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I know I'm going to be scarred for ever by this whole dementia experience but, equally, I feel that not all of those scars are bad ones. There's no denying that the last few years have been more difficult than I could ever have imagined but, when I look back to the me who cried every day for the first three months, I can't believe I could ever have been so frightened. Ash wouldn't talk about what was happening or how he felt so there was no way the two of us could plan for the future and I just couldn't see how I could ever manage without him.  He really was my rock, my shoulder to cry on, the person I wanted to tell everything to and I felt that without him there would be nothing of me. Well I was wrong.  Of course I was, but I've needed the past five years to show me.  I've been thinking recently that, although the anticipatory grief is gut wrenching at times, the fact that it wasn't a case of 'here today, gone tomorrow' has helped enormously. 

How should you feel?

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 I thought it might worth having a think about our feelings when it comes to considering that huge next step. For me the most daunting thing of all was how I was going to feel about it all.  The last few years have been so awful I didn't thing I could cope with any more overwhelming emotion so if I could keep us on track with the way things were then that might be the best option. People told me that it would be the worst day of my life, that I would cry and cry and that there would be feelings of guilt beyond what I could possibly imagine.  Never mind how awful it was going to be for Ash to think he was no longer wanted, how on earth was I going to survive all of that? What I hadn't taken into account is that we're all different and, mainly because every case of dementia is different to the next, our feelings and experiences are different too.  I also wonder whether some of us don't like to admit that we're not devastated when it happens and that life is suddenly s

The road to the care home

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 I had so many lovely messages after yesterday's post that I'm determined to get back to where I was with daily posts.  Who knows whether I'll manage it or not but for the moment my brain is working and I still have stuff to share so let's just go with that for now. Two of the comments that came up again and again from those emails were to the effect 'we're nearly at that point so this is useful' and 'we're not there yet but I want to be prepared' so I thought I might share with you how we got to this point, how quickly we arrived and what prompted that momentous decision. I say momentous because it really is.  It's an admission that you can't cope any longer, that you're not the best person for the job and that right now you're life is about to change beyond recognition. So the first question I think is 'how do you know this is the right time?'.  In my naivety I'd drawn red lines; 'if this happens I'll know

Another week, another visit

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 Second visit today and I'd say it was even better than last week's.   There are lots of things about the home that I love; it's always calm and peaceful, the staff seem to know Ash well already, he's relaxed when I leave him; all good things but one thing I hadn't realised was how perfect its position is.  It's within easy walking distance of town which is great while it's cold and it's also right on the edge of the local country park which will be perfect for a walk when the weather gets warmer. This time we walked into town, had a cup of tea and something to eat then a wander around the shops.  Ash had commented on the way in on the fact that his head was cold so we found a hat in one of the shops then went back the way we'd come, once again commenting on all the big houses we passed. So today's visit was lovely and at the end of it I remembered my lesson from last week, handing him over to the carer before leaving immediately.  Best of all, I