Dementia’s not the detail….

  • 11704F67-049F-4793-AAB1-597F974E06E7Today is Red Lippy Day raising awareness of Dementia and encouraging people to talk about dementia.

You can  make a donation to help suppport the ongoing much needed research and funds for the wonderful dementia Nurses and support staff who care for people suffering with dementia, and help offer support to their families.

Dementia is a people stealer, it slowly erases the wonderful human you once knew. They become a reed blowing in the wind, gently swaying this way and that, uprooted and often isolated from reality and normality.

It’s a painful slow process and one I feel must be acknowledged but that must not be the final detail that’s remembered of your loved ones life.

Dementia can  be extremely distressing.  for a family to witness their loved one diminishing and shrinking into themselves and  yet trying to reach out to them can be bitter sweet and at times very emotionally painful.

Of course, I am speaking from direct experience, and I am passionate that I will not reduce my Nans life down to one word of DEMENTIA!  My dear “June Emily Eastwood “ was much much more than this condition and really was only defined by it in her final years of life.

Her memory deserves more than this condition, and I shall honour it.

I often think with sadness of the bewilderment in her eyes as she became  more and more incoherent and confused but then I will always counter this memory with a good one.

I can still see the twinkle in her eyes when she was well and happily singing “ Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do”  I can still recall the determination in her face when she told me about how she gave one of her kidneys to her son who was in renal failure.

I can still vividly remember the smart lady whom always wore beautiful scarves and lashings of eye liner and lipstick. I can smell the pan stick if I close my eyes and think hard. This women showed me that you could unapologetically be yourself and walk proud.

Dementia took away her ability to eat and feed her self properly but I will not stay long with that thought because I am remembering how she made the very best stews, and Yorkshire puddings and how this is the women who gave me my love of baking.  Together we would  bake fairy cakes in her little gallery kitchen. The enticing smell drawing my Grandad into the room to be scolded for snafling warm just baked delights.

This is the women whom let me run wild in her beautiful garden and pick plums straight from the tree, and tomatoes fresh from the green house. I had free reign and loved to disappear to the top of the garden and climb the trees.

She would call me back with huge glasses of juice and tiny squares of ham sandwiches, and we would sit on the bench my Grandad had made in the sunshine.

I will often make food that makes me think fondly of my childhood spent at my Nan and Grandads and my favourite meal to evoke happy memories of time spent there is smoked haddock, simply  poached and served with fresh crusty buttered bread, and a pot of tea.

This would be prepared by my Nan and presented to my Grandad whom would be in his arm chair watching the cricket or football on a Saturday afternoon.  It was a simple life really and my Nan was a proud Housewife. She also worked for years at Lucas’s in Birmingham and was a union Member and Representative. She was once in the local  news paper and was called a “ Battling Gran” as she was trying to support workers rights. I must get my out spokeness from Nan. She was born and bread in Sheffield and spoke her mind always. She was very direct and so am I, we both don’t suffer fools gladly.

Nans home was cosy, homely and fastidiously clean. Her garden is the one I still dream about and try to emulate.  Food was how she showed her love.

When she was poorly in hospital I made sure I was there to feed her and I tried to support my Mum and Uncle.  Her hand felt small in mine.

It was hard to see her like that and I try to remember her as she was before, that way is less painful and how I think she would like to be remembered.  She would approve of the red lippy campaign.

I shall not dwell on the tiny diminished husk she became because that was not really her, and it was a very small part of a big and full life.

What memories do you hold dear about those special people no longer with us?  Hold onto them with a glad heart, and smile.