Once upon a time
As we get further and further into our new normal it becomes harder to remember how things used to be. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as I know that acceptance of 'now' is what's needed but I've discovered that it doesn't hurt to sometimes be reminded of the person Ash used to be. The first time I realised this was when I heard the answerphone message that he'd left most definitely before dementia started to take hold. I hadn't listened to it for a very long time and at first it knocked me sideways but then I realised I was smiling. He sounded just as I remembered - strong, enthusiastic about life and great fun. I still listen to that message every so often but not as often as I did at first. Now I have the picture in my head the need to listen isn't quite so strong. Today something popped up on my fb page about how important it was to have an Aries in your life. Ash's star sign is Aries and reading it brought back those memories all over again. The shortened version reads like this:
- An Aries is always fun. I never quite knew what Ash was going to do next or what surprise he had in store but life was never dull. When we went to Jake's first parent's evening at secondary school his head teacher told us that Jake had a joy of the world. He gets that from his dad.
- An Aries is brutally honest. This wasn't quite true. He would tell me if something didn't suit me or if he thought I was being unreasonable but he was also pretty good at pretending he was happy to do something when he wasn't just because he knew I wanted to. Nowadays he doesn't bother pretending.
- An Aries is strong willed. This was definitely true. He would never give up on something he'd started and if he had an idea he would always follow it through whatever objections I put up. The Easter Sunday he insisted we went for a walk in a snow storm springs to mind. I dragged my heels a bit even though I knew it wouldn't make any difference and in exasperation he said 'well, would you rather just be at home in front of the fire(!!!)?' 'Yes of course I would' was the answer I didn't bother giving
- An Aries is adventurous and spontaneous. There weren't adventures in the true sense of the word I think because he always made sure not to take me completely out of my comfort zone but he couldn't bare to sit at home so was always on the look out for things to do. We would traipse up hills, wade through streams, walk on the beach in the pouring rain, camp, explore ...... If he'd been out on his own and found something he thought was interesting he'd come back and fetch me so that I could see it too.
- An Aries is loyal. Ash would always have my back even if I'd done something he thought was completely stupid. He would support me totally and was openly proud of me and the things I achieved. The time I took us on a skiing holiday to Canada we came out of the airport late at night and straight into a blizzard then got lost. His response was to turn to me and proudly say 'You do bring us on some adventures'! I loved that about him. One of the things I really miss is his ability to put his arm around me and tell me everything will be all right.
I read yesterday of a lady who'd only been with her partner for three years before dementia struck him. I'm not sure how I'd cope if I didn't have all those memories to sustain me. I do know that the only way through a life affected by dementia is to accept that the life we had has gone and I also know that there are still good times to come but it doesn't hurt to remember how things were occasionally. That way you know you have something worth fighting for.
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