Don't look back?
Those of us living a life affected by dementia are told never to look back, always to live in the moment, never to plan for the future and mostly I manage this. I listen to those who say there's nothing to be gained from gazing into the past and I genuinely enjoy most of what's happening now but it's that word 'never' that's difficult and, as I've realised this morning, sometimes looking back is very useful indeed. When you're in the middle of all of this it's very easy to think that this is all you've known, that what you thought you had was all in the mind and that you had deluded yourself that the person you fell in love with ever really existed. I'm in the middle of a massive clear out, a proper 'spring clean' and this morning I discovered some photos from a family holiday to Santorini in 2004. Jake had taken two friends with him and we'd rented two studio apartments, one for the boys and one for us. I thought I'd remembered Jake and his friends entertaining themselves while Ash and I spent hours together on the beach sunbathing; drinking wine on our balcony every evening watching the sun go down; eating at a restaurant on the beach where we talked for hours about what we were going to do with our lives and generally relaxing in each others company and having a good time. In my head that holiday, along with many others, was so romantic. Then dementia entered our lives and all I thought I knew disappeared to be replaced by doubt and confusion. Did those holidays exist? Did we talk for hours? Were we ever on the same wavelength? This morning I discovered the photos and realised that, although some of our time in Santorini may have been romantic, my memory had deceived me a little. There in front of me were images of Ash and Jake having an amazing time paragliding. I have never seen bigger smiles from either of them and they were having so much fun it made me laugh out loud just looking at them and in those moment I realised that I may have elaborated on the amount of romance in our lives but I hadn't imagined the man he used to be. Sometimes it's good to look back.
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