A few days ago I told you I had started reading John Suchet's book 'My Bonnie: How Dementia Stole the Love of my Life' and I'm here now to tell you that after a week of almost solid reading I've finished it. What struck me about John's writing was how much of what he was feeling throughout his wife's illness was so familiar to me and almost every time I turned the page I read something that made me think 'I'll quote that bit and write about it'. But then I'd be past it and onto something else which affected me in exactly the same way so all I can say is that if you want confirmation of what I tell you on an almost daily basis then read this book. The details of the dementia will be different I'm sure but I'm equally certain that you'll recognise John's description of his thoughts and emotions. The one thing that really jumped out at me came towards the very end of the book when he talked about being ambushed by grief and I knew exactly what he was talking about. I've written about anticipatory grief and I'm never surprised when I'm reduced to tears because Ash has shouted or I've done something stupid and upset him. What has surprised me though are the times when we've been on an even keel and I suddenly feel as though I've been punched in the stomach. I gasp and tears spring to my eyes but it's come out of nowhere. It happened once when I was walking through the kitchen as Ash was gazing at the bird feeder in the garden; it's happened on numerous occasions as I've been driving through the countryside and each time I feel completely overwhelmed. Once I had to stop the car for several minutes until I felt able to carry on. I couldn't work out what was wrong with me, why this kept happening but now I know it happens to others too. Most of the time we manage to keep the grief at bay but sometimes it leaps out in the perfect ambush and all we can do is wait until we've been released from it's clutches and then carry on.
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