The tears roll down as you look outside the window that leads to the garden. Outside, an elderly man walks alongside his wife as does a young woman with her mother. There is a slight breeze and the flowers bend softly in the wind. Three cats are sleeping on the same bench, stretched out in the warm sun, oblivious to the people around. ‘You loved cats, have you noticed them?’

I look at you. You look back at me. Your eyes soften as you see me. Those tears of emotion dry away. Were you lonely? Why were you sad? I am here now.

A person with dementia cannot express emotions like we do, and tears are a window to what he or she feels inside.

I reach out for your hand and hold it. You smile. I feel reassured that you are happier now. You needed company..of someone you may still remember..or maybe someone who seems to be important ..who knows what I am to you..but I am someone who means something to you.

I hear the carer’s voice. ‘She has been very quiet today and did not eat’. A feeling of guilt comes over me. Dad has been ill and I didn’t make the time to come and see you yesterday. I was busy! Oh my goodness..this word ‘busy’ should be abolished. It is the excuse for everything nowadays. I feel ashamed and I promise myself that what is not important will wait. From now on, everything else has to wait.

Even if I told you that dad was sick, you would not remember my words but the emotions you feel when noone visits are not forgotten. We do not realise that a person with dementia cannot always work out the situation and that is why our physical presence is so important. Actually, it is vital. How can we abandon people, our loved ones, when we should be well aware that they have no idea what crazy life we lead, or whether we are waiting for a delivery, or whether we do not care at all! No, they do not know. But we know!! We know and we should look in the mirror – look at our inner thoughts. Do we care enough to make that effort? Effort? Is it an effort to go and see a parent or sibling in a Home? If it is, then there is something very wrong with us. Unless we have been abused by that person, or he/she made our lives miserable, we really have no excuse.

The days of a person with dementia are numbered. Let us not waste those days, even if we are really tired, or it’s raining and cold outside, or it is way too hot to go out.

Let us try harder. Let us show you that we really do love you and that you matter. Let us show you that it is our time to look after you now. You need us more than ever. You probably never even asked us for help before so now it is our time to give you something back, without being asked.

It is my turn to give you the time and love you gave me. Not because you asked but because you need me, you really need me, and because I truly want to. You ate all your dinner now and forgot the tears that rolled down your face before you saw me. I am so glad I saw you today, Mum.

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