An amazing occurrence
The second full day with the seven year old saw us out in the woods with friends; two grandmas, one mum, three children and, amazingly, Ash.
This time last year I'd organised something similar with another friend and her grandson, invited Ash and watched as he'd turned and almost run in the opposite direction. Since then we've had that transformational week when I went away and he's such a different person it's wonderful to watch.
To be perfectly honest I thought he'd be exhausted from yesterday and it didn't occur to me that he'd want to join our group, however small it was. Instead he asked what we were doing so I told him and, almost as an afterthought, said 'you can come with us if you want'. I really, really expected him to turn me down flat but he said he'd like to. Still not quite believing it I explained again what we were doing and who would be there but he was adamant that he wanted to come so off we went.
I still can't quite believe what I'm going to tell you but we had the loveliest time. He chatted as we went along, found things in the woods to show the children, held their hands, helped them when they needed it and was, once again, almost the Ash of old.
I used to get so cross when I read those articles that said the person you love is still in there even when dementia seems to have taken them but for three and a half years I looked and looked and couldn't find Ash anywhere. One week away, leaving him in the care of Jake, seems to have brought him back and for that I am truly grateful.
He's still not the old Ash of course. The man I knew who was so full of life, who looked for adventure in everything and whose enthusiastic approach to the world around him could make my head spin and my heart thump has gone but this new version of Ash is lovely, caring and calm and suddenly life is much easier all round.
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