It's not just 'social' distancing

Social distancing is nothing new to most of us living alongside dementia.  Certainly in our case Ash rarely accepts invitations to go out and mix now as it's something he finds very difficult to do and so life has changed beyond all recognition.  In fact, looking back through old photos recently, I found it hard to believe that the couple smiling out from all those groups at village events, evenings in the pub, nights out with friends etc really was us.  We weren't in isolation then, we mixed, we laughed, we joined in, we had so much fun but we were different people.  So the lockdown hasn't affected us too much in that way but today I realised that there's another way we've remained unaffected too because social distancing has brought with it emotional distancing in that families are apart, hugs aren't part of their lives, cuddles are missing and, however good your internet speed, the body language and empathy between them and their loved ones just isn't the same.  I used to be able to look across a crowded room and find Ash's eyes on me with that smile that told me he'd seen something worth sharing later on, I could go and find him at a party knowing he'd put his arm around me or (sometimes more importantly) notice my glass was empty and instantly refill it.   This morning I reached for his hand and there was nothing, no response, no acknowledgement that touch was needed,  not even a recognition that it had happened and I felt sorry for myself and all those others in my position.  The end of the lockdown will come you see and families will be together again, the lack of hugs will be compensated for and there will be so much joy but if you live alongside dementia the emotional distancing is here to stay and the only thing to do is get used to it.

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dasntn said…
I can very much relate to the idea of emotional distancing. The relationship changes beyond recognition as the disease progresses. We become the guardian of our shared memories.
Jane said…
Love that description and it's something that's so hard to explain to anyone not going through this.