Sunday, 11 December 2016
Through Frosted Glass
I remember during a moment of clarity with my nana asking her what it felt like when the fog of dementia came down and she replied quite candidly that it was like looking at her life through a frosted window.
I, like so many people, was devastated when my loved one with dementia no longer recognised me.
But I got to a point where it didn’t matter one way or the other I just played the conversation because all that mattered to me was time. Having the time to sit and listen, having the time to spend with my nana.
I found solace in researching everything I possibly could about dementia and developing a greater understanding of an illness that is so different for everyone it touches. No single story or account is the same as the next one.
I found, a likeminded soul who published a list of 20 questions she would ask herself as she felt it might help others so I am republishing it in the hope that others may find it helpful.
1. Do babies recognise and call by name those who care for them?
2. Does the fact that babies do not recognise their parents as individuals cause their parents to love them any less?
3. What kinds of things do babies sense from those who care for them?
4. Are those things contingent on babies recognising who cares for them?
5. What do I feel when the person I love who has dementia does not recognise me?
6. What is at the core of my upset when my loved one with dementia does not recognise me?
7. Is recognising me going to make their life any better?
8. Does not recognising me make their life any worse?
9. Do they not recognise other people, or is it just me they don’t recognise?
10. Does it matter if they don’t recognise other people?
11. How important is it for the people in my life who have dementia for me to “see” them?
12. Based on the behaviour of my loved one with dementia when s/he doesn’t recognise me, does not recognising me or others seem to cause them a great deal of lasting pain and/or suffering?
13. How important is it at this stage in my life for her/him to “see” me?
14. How important is it for people in general to be seen?
15. If it is important for people to be seen, why is it important?
16. If I don’t see and love the people who are close to me who have dementia, who will?
17. What would happen if I let go of my need for them to recognise me?
18. What does love mean to me?
19. What does compassion mean to me?
20. What is at the core of being human?