Saturday, 19 March 2011


After years of this illness that is stealing you, I think much of my grieving is done. You're not my dad any more. But, then, a moment catches me as I see your photo and desperately try to remember the man that you were.

I'm scared that the memory I have of you will be of the man, weak and without words lying helpless in a hospital bed. I don't want this to be my memory. I look at the photo of you, healthy, smiling, happy amongst friends and family and I struggle to connect with this image, feel it. It is this memory I want and struggle to find.

Like most children, I guess, we take for granted what we have while we have it.

Tears run slowly down my cheeks as I type.

I want to remember the man who took me swimming on Saturday mornings. I want to remember the man who made me feel safe and loved when I though the world was falling down round me.

I reach for these memories and they are interrupted by today's reality. You lie there, needing comfort, a little human connection. It is a long time since I heard you say my name.

I think you know who we are, well, to the point that you know you are safe with us. Loved by us. But you are slipping away with these memories of you. I am scared of forgetting you. Scared of losing you. Scared of losing these remnants of a life.

I miss you. I don't want you to go, and I know you will soon. I wonder if then I will be able to remember your laugh, your smile, your kindness?

Dementia is cruel. It is a perpetual thief of small pieces of life. It is a temptation of hope and grief. One loss at a time.

I will cling to the little I have left of you.

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