dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

Dementia Diary 8: Onwards and upwards!

on September 21, 2012

So here I go again. Time to pick myself up off the floor, dust myself down. You know the rest.

Isn’t it weird how unpredictable this dementia thing is? Some days I can cope with almost anything, other days nothing goes wrong but the sheer grief overwhelms me. And the helplessness.

I think maybe the helplessness is the worst. I can’t do anything to make it better. I try to think up nice places for our outings and especially places for nice lunches with a big glass of wine for him to enjoy. But nowadays wherever I take him he says it’s ‘superb’ and that has become a kind of a knife that gets to me and hurts.

The fact that he cannot discriminate any more between rubbish food and poor service and really good food and excellent service is an in-my-face reminder of his illness and the fact that we live separately, will never live together again, that we’re in a horrid kind of divorce. And it’s not going to get any better for the foreseeable future.

But I need to remind myself that it’s me that’s hurting, not him. When he, bless him, says he enjoyed our day out and that it was ‘superb’, he is expressing pleasure, contentment, happiness as well as he is able. It’s been good for him. The fact that it’s not ever good for me – because he’s not there any more, not the person I knew and loved – and sometimes it’s genuinely not good when it’s raining and miserable and he’s quarrelsome and difficult, and the food’s poor and the service is desultory, well then I simply have to deal with it.

Where I’m going wrong is taking it home and poking at it like a sore tooth! That’s what I did yesterday, and it does not help!!

Maybe care homes need to build a soundproof hut on the way out, fill it with empty bottles and one of those bottle-banks where you can smash the bottles safely with a satisfyingly resounding crash – plus a really comfy armchair/sofa and boxes of tissues for the floods of tears that will come afterwards. And make it the norm that each visitor stops off there to let the grief and pain out in a healthy way before we go home!

Let me at it!!

The text:  “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ Psalm 34:18

Prayer: Look with compassion on our broken hearts, Lord God. Draw us closer to You and comfort us, heal us and strengthen us. Lead us into Your green pastures that we may rest awhile. Amen.

Self-care suggestion: I have a friend who used to store up her empty bottles and jars for when her feelings threatened to explode, then it was down to the bottle-bank to smash and get rid of them. It does work!

(The pic is of Westcott House, Cambridge, a Church of England theological college.)

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