I read this short essay by Justine Brooks on social media today, and immediately realised that she and her mother are probably just a few months – maybe a year – ahead of us on the vascular dementia journey.
“Recently, a friend who has been there said to me, “The thing with dementia is, you have to do your grieving when they’re still alive.”
It’s true. You watch helplessly as the woman who brought you into the world – held your hand, wiped away your tears, was your friend and confidante – slips away, slowly, one week at a time. What you’re left with is a person who both is and isn’t your mother.”
The essay is beautifully (and simply) written. It also happens to say things that I either already recognise, or can imaging happening soon, like this notion of shifting goalposts:
“And yet today, when she really doesn’t know who I am, I’m calm, I’m accepting, I’m not upset. That’s what happens with this disease: it moves the goalposts. Or perhaps that’s about human nature’s ability to adjust to any kind of situation.”
Thank you, Justine.