I stir to a quiet stillness. The only sound I hear is the heat ‘thumping’ and ‘thrashing’ as it pounds down on the islands. Dawn is breaking. My heart beat is hurried and I can feel it in my chest. My thoughts come to mind and there you are, my day begins. As I dry after my shower, the cicadas burst into glorious song. This is nature’s way of welcoming the day. This is summer, it is August and Cicadas capture this month as theirs – hundreds of males let out their mating call and no matter where you are you, will hear them for they are the loudest of insects.
My love of summer and the sea was down to you Mum. Our daily swim was your priority and so it is mine..although that is another story. I truly believe the sea has the power to safeguard us from germs, some of them at least. Our parents’ influence rubs off on us and we do the same to our own children. And it was in your favourite season that dementia raised its head. I call this the irony of life. Everything we love has to be tarnished in some way and this is why I believe this world is just our passage to a better life beyond our imagination.
Little was known at that time and so you were in total limbo as to what was happening to you. The early days were the most frightening and you tried hard to express them but you were often met with blank faces. The look of that fear in your eyes remains imprinted in my memory and this is the reason we, the Malta Dementia Society, have to work really hard to create awareness and why, most of all, we have set up the Malta Working Group of Dementia.
This group is specifically there for people with early dementia and who are experiencing the same fear you did, Mum. The people who form part of this group do not realise how fortunate they are to have this opportunity to express what they are going through. They have a voice that is as loud as the cicadas’ song. The participants look forward to their monthly meet. They feel safe in this space – they tear up, talk about their sadness, anxiety, frustration and especially fear of the unknown. For a person facing dementia, it is like falling into a deep cavity which has no end, no bottom, an abyss, a cavern, so deep into the biggest mountain, a catacomb with endless paths so dark in the distance.
Now we have hope. Perhaps there is less fear of the unknown because research teaches us, shows us, explains that little more.
You started this journey for me Mum. You were the sacrificial lamb. Now you enjoy the better life beyond our imagination.