about writing and life and God

Dementia Diary 15: The falling leaves

on October 19, 2012

Suddenly the leaves have started changing colour.

Some of the trees blaze gold even on a grey rainy day like today. A display of wanton abandonment, a last-ditch bravado performance before the leaves drop and winter takes chilly hold.

The brightness of the colour depends, according to the scientists, upon the extra sugars developed during the summer.

Today I found myself searching the care home for my husband’s mobile phone. ‘That thing I keep” (he gestures to his back pocket) “and” (holds a hand up to his ear). He is losing words at a rapid rate this month.

I mention to the young, very on-the-ball staff member and she says she’s noticed it too. She says she’ll talk to the senior carer and the manager about it. Maybe he needs more help that this home can provide.

Searching for the mobile, we find it in the conservatory where he had plugged it in to charge it and forgotten about it. The conservatory is filling with elderly ladies, many in wheelchairs, waiting to be wheeled in to lunch. We are going out.

I greet them. Some smile. Some don’t.

And I see that the autumn of life does not necessarily bring sweetness. (Oh how I hope I’ll be a sweet old lady when my turn comes, so that the strangers looking after me will be kind to me.)

And my heart breaks again as I help my husband into the car and we head for the restaurant. How I long to be able to ensure he has a glorious autumn – except winter’s chilly fingers are already on my heart, and I think it may be too late. Have I done enough? Have we had enough good outings, happy lunches, nice times while he was able to enjoy them?

He enjoys his garlic bread. It really is excellent. We follow it with pasta, with spinach and bacon and gorgonzola – a strong enough flavour for him to taste. Then I notice on the sweet menu the chocolate, cherry and amaretto slice – a favourite. So we have one between two with a generous scoop of ice cream. Very yummy.

This is what I can do.

It seems so very little.

And almost too late.

The text: “Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Psalm 23: 4

The prayer: There are very many of us going through this, loving Lord. Hold us securely in Your loving embrace. Surround us with Your care and compassion. Lighten our darkness…

Self-care suggestion: What I needed was a hug, a shoulder to cry on. If that’s what you need, don’t be too proud to ask – and use it! If, like me, you live alone, then you’ll need to take your pain to the Lord Jesus and let Him take it away and comfort you. He will.


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