Before I start into the main body of this letter I need to clear something up, I don’t blame you for judging me, were I in your shoes, I would probably do the same.
I’ve found through experience that things always seem different when you are on the outside looking in. Where my life is concerned, you’re effectively looking into a fish bowl, because the same things happen day in and day out.
I see the look in your eyes sometimes when I reply to your question ‘How are things?’ You glaze over, so I wonder to myself why you actually ask the question when you have no interest in the reply. Sometimes I want to talk about it and sometimes I don’t. On rare occasions I need to talk about it, if for no other reason than to try and get things straight in my own head, but I will answer ‘Fine’ and move on, because I know that is what you want to hear.
The saddest thing is that Aggie’s dementia has changed more than just her life, I for sure am a different person, as is Bert. We all live this thing, only unlike Aggie, Bert and I are unable to forget the temper tantrums and the harsh words. Sometimes we are nothing more than physical and verbal punch bags. I could never begin to explain to you how exhausting that can be, both mentally and physically.
It’s is believed in a person with Dementia that frustration will sometimes manifest itself as anger. I witness this on an almost daily basis and can understand , because I often experience the same feelings, but for a different reason.
Try to imagine what it would be like to deal with a person in their seventies who is experiencing both the terrible two’s and the more difficult side of being a teenager all at once. It’s hard going, especially for someone who never wanted children.
That leads me to my next point, I know you look at me and think that I am just doing the same as any other person who has responsibilities for a family. There is a difference though, I never wanted this, I am a housewife and I’m not even married. I feel like I have been thrust into something I never wanted.
On the rare occasions when I need to vent, you will say to me but she is still your Mum, yes, you’re right, she is, but we have been dealing with this for so long now that I can hardly remember the person that she was before, I am blinded by the person she is currently, and scared of the person she will eventually become.
I’m not going to explain my life to you, what would be the point, you would never be able to understand. After many conversations with others in the same position as myself, there seems to be a common point on which we all agree, that unless you care for someone you can never fully understand what it is like, or how difficult it actually is.
Instead of passing judgement, spare a thought for those of us who find ourselves in this situation and are doing the best we can. We are human after all and no one is perfect.