I wish I could..

I have to apologise for missing Sunday’s blog. I was working from Germany as my little granddaughter battled a horrible bacteria and spent 10 days in hospital. Straight off the plane, I was taken to the hospital to see her and there she was, connected to pipes and a drain..this little body in this bed looking so weak but still managing a smile for her nanna.

I wished I could have helped you my little one…but you fought it physically and emotionally and thankfully, you are back to bouncing up and down, although still recovering.

You were so so brave my little one.

I thought of you so much mum. It was the same feeling of helplessness when you became ill ..I wish I could have helped you too back then..and I wish you were here to tell me all is okay now.

All of us who watch a loved one who is fighting illness feels like this. You pray and hope the doctors can ‘make them better’ and ‘work their magic’. Most of the time they can, of course, and that is the wonder of medicine..especially today.

However, with dementia, it is not so easy. On a postiive note, some of the strains of dementia are not so bad but what mum had was, unfortunately, one of the worse types.

Still, we kept up our conversations for as long as possible and mum you were and mum you will always be. You struggled through the first phase, which lasted at least a year, and we all adjusted to the new you in that time. We knew little about dementia but the psychiatrist helped us along. Sitting in the waiting room for your regular appointments, we met other patients, from all walks of life. There was one man in particular whom I knew. I was amazed to see him there and discovered he was fighting depression. It is funny how you picture people to be one way and then realise they too have problems. We all have secrets to hide, even those with high flying careers, as this person had. I always tell those who call, to push aside any shame or embarrasment they may feel. We all carry our burdens and we all have our demons to face.

There are those who admit them and talk about them…I am one of those people..and then there are those who do their best to hide them. Sometimes, successfully, but other times with total failure. The latter are the worst because people are not blind and they realise when things go wrong, especially those close to them, or even their neighbours. A problem shared is a problem halved. Finding a friend or relative or even a stranger to lean on is wise. A person who has the time to listen to you, who will empathise with you..cry with you. Never be afraid to share.

In fact, this is what we do in our ‘Reaching Hands’ support group – this is where relatives get together online and talk about their stories, situations, problems, fears and shed a tear or two, sometimes cry buckets…there is no shame in that..of course not! Sometimes I find myself crying with the relatives too…I guess some hurts never heal..but I find that sharing my story too helps others not feel so alone in all their burdens.

Recently, someone called me about her relative. I knew about the situation and waited a long time for this call …I am so happy she plucked up courage..

I say to all those out there who are facing this ‘huge load’…reach out to us..we are here to help.

I wish I could have helped you mum…but I know I can help others..and that is all down to you!

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