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Dementia’s journey

blackmortimer

Registered User
Jan 2, 2021
287
0
I agree, @update2020 that we do need to find a more appropriate term than "loss". It's a rather materialistic way of looking at a person. Think of "profit and loss". And we say "sorry for your loss" as an almost meaningless cliche when we meet someone who has been recently bereaved. I lost Margaret in a material sense when dementia set in at lest 6 years before she died, possible more. But I've never lost "Margaret" either then or now as we wait for the funeral, because her essence or spirit or soul, call it what you will, is still with me and always will be every time I look at her photograph or read a piece of her writing or sort out her things. I found a photograph yesterday, whilst sorting out, that was taken in I think around 1999 when we visited Florence. We went to the Uffizi gallery and the photograph was taken by a random stranger whom Margaret engaged in conversation and shows her in a black polo neck jumper and stylish black jacket wearing designer sun glasses for all the world like some kind of "nouvelle vague" film actress. That was the presona she'd decided to adopt for this particular visit and sums up for me exactly how she was and how as long as I live, or at least that memory lives in me, she is still with me. So she's not lost. Whatever imprint she made on the world is not lost and I'm sure the same applies to your husband,@update2020 and to Bridget, @Dutchman . We can't assess a person's value in what they did, but in what they were and how they affected others. Perhaps no life is "cut short"; Perhaps they're just as long as they're supposed to be. I don't think Margaret was sent to "do" anything, just to "be". God bless.
 

Dutchman

Registered User
May 26, 2017
1,453
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73
Devon, Totnes
As always I’m not expecting any comments, just need to say what I’m feeling today.

When I look back ( deadly I know) at our lives (pre dementia ) I regret all the time I wasted on unimportant subjects that were my own when i ought to have shown more consideration for being with her. The days caught up in my own desires, hours wasted just thinking of myself and now I realise those precious moments could have been filled with more love and togetherness.

I know it’s not probably healthy ( certainly not realistic) that we think back and wish but, for me it’s natural that I have these regrets for all the missed opportunities. I suppose the message is that we need to love each other more and think of ourselves less. Not by me neglecting my needs but being more tuned into what Bridget wanted and even anticipating what what would make her happy.
Anyway, I’m off soon to get paint ( another project to divert my emotions).
Peter❤️
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
260
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I'm sure that a lot of people have those regrets, Peter, and that's not just when someone has a loved one who develops dementia. I think that you have to hold on to all the good times and happiness that you had together rather than dwell on those regrets and minutely analyse when you might have behaved differently. We all behave thoughtlessly and selfishly at times because we are human. And, if I may, I think that it's important to remember that other people suffer great losses too. My neighbour has just died leaving three primary aged children, and I know of quite a number of other people who did not expect that their happy married lives would be cut short by the death of their spouses when they were only in their 30s and 40s, leaving young children some of whom have little or no recollection of their dead parent.
 

Andy54

Registered User
Sep 24, 2020
63
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@Dutchman, I don't think that you should regret time spent on your own interests in the past, I dare say Bridget also had her own interests that she spent time on. Certainly Deb and I spent lots of time pursuing seperate interests, there's nothing selfish in that, quite the opposite in my view, she wouldn't have wanted to have to be involved with everything I did or have me reluctantly tag along with her activities. Having some seperate interests is perfectly natural and maybe makes the time spent together on shared interests all the more special. It's not the past use of time that I regret, it's all the lost opportunities in the present and future.
Andy.
 

blackmortimer

Registered User
Jan 2, 2021
287
0
I have been thinking about regrets during this enforced period of mourning waiting for the funeral. When I was a student the now classic Edith Piaf song "Je ne regrette rien" was high in the charts. It chimed well with the existentialist philosophy then much in vogue and it as it were seemed to enter my blood stream. I recalled the song when going through the boxes of old photographs and mementos that Margaret had hoarded and then put away with her high disregard for any kind of order or sorting. So I found photographs taken on the beach in 1976 alongside a wedding in 1997, Margaret's trip to America with two girl friends in 1990 and so on and so on each photograph eliciting a fresh memory of a time in our life. I experienced a warm glow of love as again and again I was reminded of some particular time or event or just a fleeting glimpse of character caught in a particular shot. A sort of whistle stop tour of 48 years of marriage but, I realised no regrets. I know that looking back over the past is painful for some, but for me it's a sort of healing balm which has reminded me first that I have not lost Margaret, she is still with me and always will be and secondly that, with Mlle Piaf "no, I regret nothing". God bless you all.
 

update2020

Registered User
Jan 2, 2020
57
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One of the memorable comments Sergio makes in the docufiction I mentioned above is that he has not lost his wife, and he cannot move on to another relationship because she is still 'here' and 'here' (touching his head and his heart).