Hello.  Did you wonder where I'd gone, or maybe you didn't even know I'd been missing but that's such a dispiriting thought I've dismissed it from my mind without even really considering it.  

The truth is that I've been poorly.  Not proper poorly, just ears that couldn't hear and a feeling of being so far underwater that my brain refused to function.  Am back in the land of the living now and almost feeling normal so here I am with my thoughts once again.

I was going to post yesterday.  I had a lovely morning tramping over, and through, the Lincolnshire Wolds with a friend where we covered numerous topics and agreed on almost all of them which is always satisfying, then I came home, had lunch and was feeling ready to share my world with you again.  That feeling lasted right up until Ash and I went out wood collecting.  I'd asked him to come and push the full barrow home and he'd agreed so what on earth could go wrong?

We got into the churchyard to find friends adding to a huge pile of recently cut logs and were told we could have what we wanted from the heap.  This was brilliant.  Not quite so far to push home and they cut some of it into shorter lengths for me which made it easier to pile them into the barrow.

I'll say at this point that they also offered to saw any I wanted and deliver them to the house but then I'd have missed the fun of wielding the chainsaw so I declined that kind offer and took lengths I knew were the right size for me to work with.

We loaded the barrow and, when it was full, I said to Ash 'your turn now', indicating the hill and the handles, and that's when it all went horribly wrong.  It went wrong you see because, instead of taking hold of the barrow and beginning to push the heavy load, he laughed at me and told me to do it myself.  It wasn't a friendly laugh either, in fact it was the laugh of a stranger who really didn't care whether or not I could manage that barrow on my own.

The thing is that I could, and I did, manage but I got home with tears in my eyes because that wasn't Ash and I know that he'll never be Ash ever again.  'My' Ash wouldn't have waited to be asked and would never, ever, have stood by and watched me struggle but that Ash has well and truly disappeared to be replaced with someone I don't recognise.

It's odd because, most of the time, I accept this life and what's happening to us; I face reality on a daily basis and I can distance myself from everything in a way that helps me deal with it.  Sometimes however, just sometimes, I realise all over again that I'm living with a complete stranger and one who really isn't very pleasant.

I'm going to be honest here and I just hope you understand when I say that there are moments when I dislike this man who shares my life more than I would ever have thought possible.  I know he can't help it, I know it's not him, but there are times when knowing all of that doesn't help one little bit and yesterday was one of them.  

On a positive note however, the wood collecting combined with my morning hike, notched up over 20,000 steps yesterday which made me a very happy bunny and gave me something good to focus on.

Life is never all bad is it?

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Lorraine said…
Welcome back, Jane - I have really missed you! The reason for the comment, though, is that I really wanted to say a huge 'Thank You'! I've really begun to dislike myself in recent months because, as you've so eloquently put, I really don't like the man who lives here posing as my husband any more. Most of the time I can be rational enough to accept that it's really not his fault but sometimes, yesterday being a perfect example, he is so far removed from the loving, considerate man he once was that I just want to be anywhere but near him. I always admire how you're able to stay upbeat most of the time and that sometimes adds to my feelings of guilt as I rarely am these days (have completely reversed from my formerly always 'half-full glass' gal to a definite 'half empty' one these days!)so while I'm sad for you that yesterday wasn't a good day, it nonetheless reassured me that even the good ones among us can have similar thoughts to mine. I know you'll be back on form again soon so look forward to the next chapter.
Anonymous said…
It's a common feeling. I don't like my wife most of the time and wish she would just go away and leave me alone. Her original persona would be horrified at what she has become. I have to accept I now live with a mostly unpleasant stranger I can't escape. Nobody would want or choose a relationship like this.
Carol Westover said…
So sorry that Ash has turned into a completely different person from the one you married. Sadly, we are all too familiar with this unexpected part of dementia. It's another thing we have to shrug about and try to ignore. Do take care of yourself and know that you are thought of by all who read your blog. We identify with what you're going through and learn from you how to handle the same situation in our own lives. Blessings to you, and to Ash.
Jane said…
Your comments are all so lovely I'm not quite sure where to start in reply. I know it might seem that I manage to stay positive most of the time but that's mainly because I hate writing about the difficult times as it makes them seem all the more real. On top of that those times never last and usually by the time I do come to write about my day the horrible bits have been and gone and, lastly, I've developed that distancing technique I talked about yesterday and most of the time I manage to cut myself off from any feelings I used to have for Ash. Some people might think that's cruel but I know it's the only way I can survive this.

I know that Ash, too, would be horrified at the person he's become and mostly that helps me accept it all but every so often I'm attacked by memories of the person he used to be and then I'm very sad indeed.
Carol S said…
I think you are right Jane not to dwell on the bad times. Every time we do we just relive them and I think we are in danger of exaggerating them the more we focus on them. Far better to highlight the better times even if they are less often. They are the ones I would rather dwell on. Everything is impermanent so best to muddle through the bad times and really enjoy the good ones while they last. Seems to me that you are really good at recognising the little moments of joy we can have from small everyday activities etc. - like sawing your own wood, wearing new bright clothes 🤗 or for me at the moment just walking our dog in bluebell woods . Your reflections on the positives despite the difficult times you go through, are really helpful to those of us who read your blog. Thank you.