Pros and cons of living with dementia

We're been on a fairly even keel recently.  Of course life has it's ups and downs but then that's the same for most people.  No-one's life is perfect even if it seems so from the outside.  Although I'm sure it won't last this sense of calm has made me think about how our lives have changed and whether it's better or worse.  I've said lots of times that I thought the world would come to an end when Ash was diagnosed with dementia but it didn't and it really isn't all bad so what have I lost and what have I got in return?

Things I miss are:
Being able to rely on him.  Ash would always do whatever needed doing.  He would fix things, collect things, organise things ....... now he does those things sometimes but I'm never quite sure what I'm going to come home to.
Coming home to a meal.  This wasn't always on the table as he quite often didn't know what time I would be home but it would at least be in the oven.  At one time he thought about being a chef and loved experimenting with different dishes.  In fact he hated following recipes.  I miss that and have had to learn to cook all over again.
His sense of adventure.  Ash was always up for trying new things.  When Jake was little we used to take off every summer for 3 weeks camping in France.  We never knew quite where we would end up but just headed in a general direction of north, south, east or west.  It was a long time since he'd taken French at school and he'd never actually had to use it purposefully so would look at a menu in a restaurant and order the one thing he really couldn't translate just to see what it was.
His 6th sense of knowing when I was upset.  As Jake says we don't really do emotion in our family but Ash would always know if there was something wrong and be there just for me to lean on.
Being able to surprise me.  When we first got married Ash would sometimes pick me up from work.  Often when I got in the car the front of the glove box would be down and balanced on it was a box of chocolates.  Several years ago I'd been promoted at work so, obviously, rang to tell him.  When I got home champagne and smoked salmon were waiting.  Those things don't happen any more.
Him knowing (most of the time) when to be romantic.  We got together when we were teenagers and had a 'song' from the beginning.  I just heard it playing in the radio and went through to suggest we danced to it.  He had no idea what I was talking about.  Actually, as the song was 'Without You' by Nilsson, it's probably just as well we didn't dance.  By the time I'd listened to a few of the lines I couldn't see straight.

So that's the sad stuff over with.  Now to see what I've gained.
I relax more.  Two years ago I went from working a 50 hour week to trying, mostly successfully, to stick to 3 days.  However there was still my mum to visit and there always seemed so much that had to be done.  This situation has made me focus more on us and I now work 2 days a week.  Through those 2 days I work solidly to make sure I get everything done but if it's not a working day then I don't.
I catch up with friends.  In the past it always seemed so difficult to find the time.  Now I realise how important it is and actually book things into the diary even if it's weeks ahead.  How often do we get to Friday and think 'that's another week gone'?  When I sent out the emails telling everyone about Ash one of my friends said 'let's make this the year we actually get together instead of just talking about it'.  We've now met up twice this year where once we would have promised and promised and then found 2 years had gone past.
I'm spending time in the garden.  I decided that if I was going to be at home a lot then I needed something to occupy myself.  In the past I would have read and read which kept my mind occupied but wasn't conducive to conversation.  The garden has always been Ash's domain and when I told him what I planned to do he was a little nervous.  The sight of me with a pair of secateurs or loppers has always had that effect on him.  Now we potter about together and the garden is looking great.  I still have to ask sometimes if something is a plant or a weed but I'm getting better.  On top of that I've been able to hang on to that Lanzarote suntan.
We laugh a lot.  A few years ago for reasons beyond our control we went through a very difficult patch and seemed to stop laughing.  I/We were so focused on getting through each day that the joy went out of everything.  Now we're so much more relaxed the fun is back in our lives.

If you or someone you love has just been diagnosed with dementia or you just have your suspicions that it is lurking in the background don't be afraid.  It doesn't have to be the end.  That depends on your attitude.