A change in priorities

For years and years Ash and I have holidayed a lot.  At least twice a year we went abroad and then another week would be spent in the UK with the latter mostly somewhere remote where we could escape from the outside world.  It might be camping with no access to mobile phones or laptops; it might be the cottage in Scotland which required a drive in the truck across two fields before tackling a track down a cliff face to arrive at a cottage on it's own beach where we wouldn't see another soul for the whole week; it might be the island only accessible across a Roman causeway at low tide;  it might be the wood cabin on the side of a loch where all you could hear was the bird song;  all of these were places we went, sometimes more than once, where we could sit and talk or walk in silence with no thoughts of real life to intrude on the peace and quiet.  We both worked hard and my job in particular was very stressful and all consuming so to get away was really important to us but even when Ash retired and I reduced my work hours the holidays continued until dementia entered our lives and beyond even that.  But one day as I was considering yet another destination I realised that whereas in the past I'd thought 'where in the world do I want to go next?' now I was looking and thinking 'where can I cope with?' and that was really the beginning of the end of those holidays because, in reality, there are far easier ways to spend money than taking Ash somewhere he doesn't know and watching him spend the week fearful because he doesn't know where he is or what's coming next.  Last October we went away for four days and he was frightened the whole time which is something I never want to see again and so we come to priorities and what dementia does to those priorities.  Once upon a time the most important thing to me was to get away from home, see the world and share the experience with Ash.  Today, with dementia in our lives, the most important thing is that he feels safe and that I can have some time to myself every so often just to recharge my batteries.  This weekend I have just over 24 hrs doing exactly that and I've realised I'm looking forward to it all with exactly the same level of anticipation I used to feel about our holidays.  As I said, dementia really does change your priorities.

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