Photos, photos everywhere
When you live alongside dementia you are a jumble of emotions especially if the person you're caring for is the one you've loved since you were a school girl. Ash and I first met when I was 13 and he was 15. It took us another two years to actually get together but when we did it was the real thing and we knew it. Because we were so young I think we moulded each other or at least he moulded me and in the best way possible. He taught me how to laugh at myself, how to have fun, how to take life much less seriously and, most importantly, he turned my life into a series of adventures, every one of them something to be relished.
All of my memories then are tied up with Ash. He plays an important part in each of them either just the two of us or, later, with Jake but, as I said to a friend recently, all of his memories are tied up with work and his job, seemingly not with us at all and I couldn't quite work out how I felt about that.
That was until we started sorting out photos. I've tried to go through them with him before but he hasn't been in the least bit interested. This time however I've scanned lots (with more still to go) and then put them on the digital photo frame. Now, whenever Ash goes to make a cup of tea, instead of looking out of the window and into the garden he catches sight of one, both or all of us in the frame and it seems to spark, if not a specific memory, at least a recognition of the fact that we spent many, many happy times together.
I've also left a pile of photos on the kitchen table and several times a day he stops and goes through them. Yesterday he said 'we have done a lot haven't we?' and we have. We've had a lovely life and it's nice to catch glimpses of it. In fact for me the thing that's leapt out of those photos is that we were always laughing and when life is difficult it's nice to remember it hasn't always been like this.
What's fun about it all is the realisation that there are many, many photos of me across the years in various bikinis and those are the ones which provoke more comments now than any of the others. What's bitter sweet is that those photos remind me of what and how we were with no inkling of what was to come and I find that just a little bit sad.
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