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The gift of dementia.

Yesterday I spoke to my friend whose husband is living with dementia. Lockdown has not been easy, but she has done everything possible (and impossible) to protect him from COVID-19. A sudden urinary tract infection did not help, nor did the impending doom of possibly running out of wine and having to go for X-rays. While helping him with his morning bathroom routine, he takes his hand and gently strokes her hair, saying “I love you.” The gentleness, vulnerability and uninhibited affection hit hard. More than thirty years of marriage – a good marriage – but never has he shown affection so unguarded.

Can it be that there are indeed gifts in this journey? I do believe so. We spend our lives building up defences. And then dementia breaks them down. If we are in a loving relationship, surrounded by the things and the people who we love and who love us, our true Self starts shining through more and more. We become, we grow, I do believe that we actually evolve when we no longer resist being who we really are.

I can see the same thing happening with my Mother. She now has no problem saying things like “I love you”. Those words never came easy before. She has become gentler and more grateful. I thought that she would nd it difficult to adapt after my Father’s death. Yet, she is content, telling me constantly that she has nothing to complain about.

We need to look at dementia not as a monster disease that eats away at our Selves, but as a different way of Being in the world. We also need to see that people living with dementia should not be institutionalised.

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