Is it ever ok to tell a lie?

I wrote this post below and then looked for a quote to put at the end only to be horrified to discover that every single one of them was written to say that lying is always bad.  I can only think that not one of the people involved have shared their life with someone living with dementia.

When I was a teenager I frequently lied to my mum and to this day I like to think she believed me.  If I was going somewhere I knew she would disapprove of I told her I was going somewhere else; if I was going to do something she'd told me I couldn't I just wouldn't mention it but would do it anyway; I had a strategy and it never seem to let me down, in fact I would even go so far as to say I got quite good at it.  Lying to Ash however was another matter and the longer we were married the more impossible it became even if I wanted to.  Mostly this was because I wanted to share everything with him (even those things, events, moments he wasn't really interested in) but also because he would have known and I couldn't bear the thought of that.  Then we had the dreadful months/years leading up to the diagnosis when all we seemed to do was argue.  I would try to tell him everything and he struggled to understand and so shut down rather than listen and try to take it all in which left me feeling hurt and bewildered.  Gradually however I've come to understand that sometimes the truth will confuse him, hurt him or make him anxious and that there are other ways.  I still find it hard to tell him an outright lie - last Bank Holiday for instance Jake came over for the weekend with the 6 year old to give me a break and the original idea was that we would just swap places.  He would come here and I would stay at his house.  In the end I couldn't do it.  Ash would never be able to understand why I was going to Jake's without him and I couldn't bring myself to tell him an outright lie so I went to stay in my mum's empty house, telling him where I was going and saying it was so I could have a whole weekend of clearing out cupboards and drawers.  He grasped the concept instantly and off I went with his blessing to relax but not to do any house clearing.  One example of slightly stretching the truth without actually lying.  I don't always tell him if I'm meeting Jake but the not telling only applies when I've tied in the get-together with going to see my mum.  Ash would want to come you see but only to see Jake and/or the 6 year old and then what would I do with him while I was visiting mum?  I haven't told him about a holiday I'm planning with a friend next year because he doesn't yet need to know and it would worry him as he won't realise (or remember if I told him) that Jake will be with him the whole time I'm away.  I don't tell him If I'm doing more than one thing in a day eg. meeting a friend for lunch and then going on to something else.  If I give him chapter and verse it seems to me that all I'm doing is filling his head with information he doesn't need so I tell him I'm going to be out of the house and that I'll be back by .......  I also make sure the time I write on the note is later than I actually plan to be home which gives me some margin for error.  Maybe this is something you've always done or maybe it just seems common sense to you but for me it's been one of the hardest things I've had to learn to do.  HOWEVER it is getting easier as I become more and more confident about what Ash can cope with and what will worry him.  Ash himself also seems to realise now that he really doesn't need to know the detail he just needs to have faith that I'll keep him safe and he's getting there with that.  One of our new followers told me in a comment that he's written a song on this very subject so I listened to it and want to share it with you.  If you go to you'll not only be able to listen to him singing but you'll be able to read the lyrics.  I dare you to listen and read without having to hold back the tears. 

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dasntn said…

many thanks for sharing the link to my song.
Just thought I ought to mention, it's not me singing it - I had to get a friend to do it, as I couldn't get through the whole song without getting a bit choked up with emotion.
It's good to have friends!
Jane said…
It certainly is good to have friends but there I was thinking that I now know what you look like!
Sarah H said…
Lovely song . . . and imho it is definitely ok to tell small white lies so long as the motivation is to be kind and they don’t case hurt to anyone 🙂
dasntn said…
Oh yes, that was my face! Just not my voice (till I sing harmonies at the end!).
After 18 months since writing it, I can now usually sing it all the way through, which I'm pleased about.
Jane said…
Will now go back to have another look. It's nice to be able to picture people when they comment.
dasntn said…
Hi Jane - here's a video with me singing the song

Jane said…
Have looked. Still love the song and the sentiments and now can put a voice as well as a face to a name. thank you.