Tag Archives: family

Turning Ninety With Dementia

31 May
Me with Grandma

Today is my Grandma’s 90th Birthday – 90th! It’s such an incredible age to reach; there are so many people who don’t get to anywhere near 90, and yet Grandma has.

My uncle threw her a birthday barbecue on Sunday, and there were quite a few family members there. Four sons, two daughters-in-law, and three granddaughters. One uncle brought his two dogs over as Grandma loves them, and another uncle is visiting for the week from Denmark especially for her birthday. It was a lovely, lovely day, and she really enjoyed herself.

Reaching 90, Grandma is bound to have had a wealth of experiences. She has seven children, 13 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Because of two of her sons living in various places over the years, she’s visited a number of countries. There are so many things I would love to ask her, but so many things I’ll never know the answer to.

Why? Because Grandma has vascular dementia. Continue reading

Live Your Life to Your Own Schedule

3 Apr
Live Your Life to Your Own Schedule

I come from quite a large family, and on my father’s side, I have 11 cousins. Out of all of us, I am was born third. Jane, the second eldest, got married to her husband in 2013. Tom, the fourth eldest, got married to his wife in 2014. Last year, both Liz and Dave became parents. Continue reading

My Bucket List

17 Mar
My Bucket List

I’ve had a list of things I’d like to do before I die saved to a draft email for quite some time now, but haven’t done anything with it. But having had my birthday a couple of days ago (a reminder of getting older), struggling because my Nan wasn’t here for it (a reminder of how life is short), and seeing the movie How to Be Single, a fantastic movie about figuring out who you are on your own and doing all those things you want to but can’t exactly do when in a relationship, I got to thinking that maybe I should actually try and do something with this list of mine. And what better way to try and make sure I do these things than posting it here, where other people can see it?

I’m not giving myself a time limit. I’m not saying these things have to be done by a certain age. There just here, to be completed in my lifetime. Some of these things are more acheivable than others, so I’m splitting my list into two; those things that are acheivable, and those that are unlikely to happen. Continue reading

How Do You Celebrate After Loss?

15 Mar
Nan and Me

Today is my birthday. I’m now 29.

I’m normally the type of person who loves celebrating birthdays. Of course, when I was younger, I loved receiving cards and presents. That joy and excitement I felt as each one approached has never left me, though now it’s less about what I’m given, and more about the celebration; getting dressed up, spending time with the family, eating good food, and, yes, getting some love. This birthday is different though, and I have been wishing it was further away each day, as it steadily came closer. This is my first birthday without my Nan.

I was really, really close to my Nan, as a child and as an adult. I would take time off work just to visit her for a week; take her to lunch, take her out for a drink. Have her cook me steak in gravy, and laugh while she got angry at her favourite soaps’ storylines. Just spending time together. So I’m really struggling with her not being here today. Christmas was hard and upsetting, but today is worse. It’s my day, and she’s not here. It’s been almost a year, and I’m doing ok in general, but I’m feeling her absence much more strongly today, a day in which she was always present, even if I didn’t actually see her. I live in London and she lived in Kent, so it was more likely than not that I wouldn’t see her. But I would always receive a card in the post, one that was a bit of a “story” – what my family call cards that have a lot of words. I’ll get a card from her with two, maybe three pages of verse, a card she had taken the time to choose amongst many, the one with just the right words to express how much she loved me. Not this year. She would always phone to wish me a Happy Birthday, ask me what I received, and what my plans would be for the day. Not this year. Continue reading

A Hope For a Brighter 2016

13 Dec
A Hope for a Brighter 2016

2015 is coming to an end now, and I absolutely cannot wait. I’m not waiting with excitment, I’m waiting full of sadness. 2015 has been an incredibly awful year.

Back in April, my Nan died. The cancer she had been battling for over a year finally beat her. We knew that her sister Jane had cancer too,and was diagnosed in 2014, but with treatment she was doing well and the doctors were hopeful. Towards the end of Summer, we discovered we were told wrong. Her cancer was terminal.

A few weeks later, their brother, Paul, went into hospital with pneumonia. While there, he had a stroke, and now has dementia. Not the slow, progressive kind; within the space of two weeks, Paul went from being fine, to not recognising his own daughter, and completely forgetting his older sister had died. Continue reading

There is Only Now

27 Jan
There is Only Now

“There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion.” – Ernest Hemmingway, To Whom the Bell Tolls

In June 2014 my Nan was told she has terminal cancer, and was given six months. It’s now been seven. She only has a few weeks left. Every weekend I visit for a few days, and each time she’s deteriorated a little more.

She is considering each and every day from here on as a bonus. She knows it’s close, so she’s making each day count.

By spending time with the people she loves.

By doing her Arrowwords and Crosswords, with the whole family joining in to help.

With going out to town, just to be out the house, when she’s up to it.

Watching TV programmes and movies she likes.

Eating her favourite meals.

It doesn’t sound like much, but she’s doing the things she enjoys, the things she is still capable of doing.

For Nan, there is only now.

We never know what’s around the corner, when life will be snatched away from us. If you were living in the now – if you stopped thinking of your future as weeks, months, years – how would your life be different? If now is all you had, what would you change?

How would you spend your time? What would you want to be doing more of? What would you eat? Who would you want to see?

What relationships would you repair? Who would you walk away from?

Would you be at the same job? Or doing something completely different?

What would you not put off until next week, next month, next year?

What would you stop doing altogether?

I know there’s no way to wave a magic wand and change everything over night. But something popped into your mind, right? Some small change, something you’d like to do…

There is only now.

Are you making each day count?


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