1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    3,802
    Essex
    Hallo everyone, and I hope you're all OK. As promised, I've dropped in to let you know how things are. It's 200 days on Friday since I lost my beloved John, and life has certainly had an awful lot of ups and downs.

    On a positive note, I've just returned from visiting friends in Devon, where I stayed for 5 days, and travelled by train, as I'm not confident enough to undertake the journey driving. It was so lovely to have company, and chat about this, that, everything and nothing, and to have a change of scenery.

    As you may remember, I made all the funeral arrangements, and sorted out the finances myself, even completing Probate, then I had a foot operation, and 3 months ago, I started work as a volunteer at the Citizen's Advice Bureau, with my "speciality" being form filling.

    And I love it! Everyone is so appreciative, and my much-honed skills, developed over the years whilst caring for John, and arguing the toss with Social Services, et al, have proved very useful, and so far, I have a 100% success rate for my clients!

    I've been left flowers, chocolates and lovely cards from the claimants, and have also been promoted to Advisor status, as I am considered empathetic! Of course, this is no substitute for my widowed status - but it helps. My son and family will be visiting me at the end of the month, from the USA, and during their stay I am having John's ashes committed, as I wanted the whole family there.

    There are only 7 of us, and it was important to me for us to be together, and then that is the final step regarding John's passing. I'm planning another few days away in September, this time to Yorkshire, again staying with friends. I have started my ukulele lessons, and will also be joining an AmDram/Musical Theatre society in October, where I am assured that I will not be the oldest, that position being occupied by an 85 year old!

    I accept every single offer to meet for coffee or lunch, and nail a smile on my face when anyone asks how I am, lying through my teeth when I say "not too bad", or even "fine, thanks". The truth is that I hate my situation, I resent the 12 years that John and I lost when he was ill, and resent even more the years ahead that we have been denied. I talk to his photos and cry. A film, song or even an advert can reduce me to floods of tears, but we have to carry on, don't we.

    The one thing that I learnt at the Bereavement Group was the saying "grief is the price you pay for loving too much". So true. The group wasn't "for me", though I know they help some people enormously.

    I've had rooms decorated, and done quite a bit myself. I've tackled the garden, and bought things that needed renewing, to make my life as stress-free as possible. So all in all, no major changes, but I feel I've done the best I can for now.

    Love and best wishes to all my dear friends on TP, who helped me through my darkest hours, and a warm welcome to all newcomers, who will find TP their salvation. It certainly was mine. xxx
     
  2. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    It is very good indeed to hear from you. You seem to be filling your life with many interesting things. That is great although obviously that sense of loss will never (?)disappear. Your activities sound fun and hopefully you are meeting new people too. I am sure John would be proud of you.

    Please continue to 'pop in' :) Jan
     
  3. pony-mad

    pony-mad Registered User

    May 23, 2014
    1,073
    Mid-Wales
    How lovely to see your name pop up Scarlett! And how good to hear the positive things you have achieved. I'm so glad your well-honed form filling and badgering skills have been put to good use.
    To have loved too much and grieved so intensely, you have done wonders holding your head high and slapping on that smile
    I hope you have a lovely time when your son and family come over and that your trip to Yorkshire is good.
    I'm keeping my head above water too. The last mmse score was 2/30, but he is still here for me and gives the best hugs. Best wishes G x


    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     
  4. Tears Falling

    Tears Falling Registered User

    Jul 8, 2013
    637
    Lovely to read from you Scarlett. Glad that you are accepting the invitations for lunch etc with friends and that you are taking time to visit and just be with people when you need to be. You will no doubt be really looking forward to seeing your overseas family soon and I hope that the committal of the ashes provides some comfort to you all.

    hugs. xx
     
  5. Chuggalug

    Chuggalug Registered User

    Mar 24, 2014
    8,007
    Norfolk
    Hello You!

    You've been very busy, Scarlett. I know about some of the things you've done as I've done them too. Trying to put the bungalow back together; cleaning, getting blinds fitted; wondering what I'll end up doing with the floors. And all that!

    I miss my blokie very much since he's been in care, but I never imagined I'd live to see the day when he was actually being cared for. There are no words for that - how those who got stuck in actually did care what happens to us, and that means both of us.

    There's nothing like that, and there are no words.

    I reckon we all knew you'd do well in your new job! So, you have. That makes us proud of you, ya hear?

    Ah...the garden. You can read about my woes on me own thread, or maybe not, haha! Just bought a strimmer. The lawn mower is awesome. Really wicked at cutting through weeds as well as grass.

    12 years was a long time, mate. For us, it's getting on for 7. Yeah, I resent what the disease does to the household. Thank God, there were only two of us suffering. My Mum visited when she could, about once per year, but she didn't suffer over us. That was left to me. Lonely ole biz, ain't it. I feel for you over your current ongoing sadness. It might ease, but there ain't no platitudes coming your way from here, Gal. I've had too many thrown at me to do that to you. Meanwhile, glad you posted! Cheered me right up, as I know it did, everyone else. Continue to grab big bites out of life., Scarlett. You've earned it. Much love to you :) Jen
     
  6. bemused1

    bemused1 Registered User

    Mar 4, 2012
    3,403
    Good to hear from you scarlett and glad to see the fighting spirit is still there. John would be proud of you.
    We all go through so many stages of grief but you are turning you anger and grief to positive use.
    Not only would John be proud of you, I'm proud of you.
    I hope time does heal , come back soon and let us know.
     
  7. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    What a lovely post, Scarlett, and good to hear from you with your update.

    I'm lucky so far and can only imagine what it must be like to lose your life partner, and am full of admiration for the way you are tackling things. My feeling is that it's okay to get on with life, and have happy times, and it's equally okay to have sad times and angry times too. 200 days isn't very long, especially when compared to how long you were together so it's no wonder you cry. I would say cry whenever you need to.

    Big hugs xx
     
  8. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,976
    Suffolk
    Oh Scarlet, so nice to hear from you, you inspired me so much in my early days on here!
    OH is now in care, after a terrible Easter, with a&e featuring, plus two falls, emergency appts with gp and consultant, I didn't know which way was up!
    Thank you for showing me there is life after all this! I hope your job continues to go well. I won't say stop grieving, you can't do that, but peace will come ( but not necessarily acceptance).
    Thank you!
     
  9. Grey Lad

    Grey Lad Registered User

    Sep 12, 2014
    5,737
    North East Lincs
    How lovely to hear from you Scarlett. I miss your contributions every single day on T P. Trying to replicate your frankness, and no nonsense style, has been a life saver in my approach to this dreadful condition.

    Please continue to do keep in touch with us all when you are able.. G L
     
  10. truth24

    truth24 Registered User

    Oct 13, 2013
    5,726
    North Somerset
    #10 truth24, Jul 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
    Dear Scarlett. It's so great to hear from you. Have often wondered how you are getting on and am really pleased to hear of the positives. You are doing so well when there must be a big black hole that you wish to sink in to from time to time. It's also great to hear that you are putting your experience to good use in helping others. No wonder you are getting so many little gifts of appreciation. I well remember how you helped me at times too with your wise words and how much we all enjoyed your odes. Hope your foot is completely better now.

    It was 1 year ago on Monday that Fred went to his CH and I remember how devastated I was (him too). Luckily he has now settled and seems content but you may remember that, like you, those early visits were heartbreaking. However, I am lucky that he is still with me and even seems pleased to see me on most days. I think you were the one who first coined the expression 'midow' and it still fits very well. As you will well know, there is such a big gap but, like you, I try to cope as well I can.

    Do keep popping in with updates and enjoy your holidays and activities. We miss you!

    Verityxx
     
  11. Feline

    Feline Registered User

    Oct 25, 2012
    164
    East Devon
    So pleased to see your post and hear how well you are doing, I can understand the resentment of losing healthy time together ,but you sound as if you are living for the moment and achieving so much, "Good on you " !!
    All the best
     
  12. Caz60

    Caz60 Registered User

    Jul 24, 2014
    252
    Lancashire
    Hi Scarlet,you sound such a wonderful person ,full of courage and empathy .You should be so proud of yourself for being a dedicated wife and carer amongst other attributes.I only hope I have as much or nearly as much courage as you.I have a naturally caring personality ,it's a good job really but strength not to keep crying and worrying about what next is not easy at all .Take care of yourself ,I think helping others gives you an inner peace ,that's what I intend to do when the time arises .xx
     
  13. esmeralda

    esmeralda Registered User

    Nov 27, 2014
    3,072
    Devon
    Hi Scarlet, very good to get an update on how you are doing. Like others I always found your posts full of compassion, advice and inspiration. Not to mention robust common sense and righteous anger at times!
    Not surprising you are doing so well at the CAB, I'm sure you are making a huge difference in a lot of people's lives.
    Glad you had a good break. I hope things become a little easier for you, and please continue to pop in. Knowing someone else's story who has been through dealing with this horrible disease is so helpful in lots of ways.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
     
  14. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    3,802
    Essex
    Thank you all so much for your lovely replies, and for updates on your own news. I feel for the Midows and Midowers amongst you, and know only too well how heartbreaking and exhausting it is to care for someone with this dreadful illness.

    The worst time for me was the night before I went to Devon. I'd taken Billy (my dog) to my daughter's house, as she was looking after him in my absence, and returned to an empty home for the first time in my life. Like others of my generation, I'd lived at home with my parents, until I married John, and our home had always been filled with children, pets and each other.

    On the rare occasions John was away overnight through work, there was always another beating heart with me, and Billy was, and has been, an enormous comfort whilst John was in the Care Home for 7 months, and since his death.

    I wept buckets, and chided myself for being silly, but I couldn't control it. And yet I've been able (ish) to cope with everything else. The Citizens Advice Bureau work is so satisfying, and I'm humbled that I've helped others, like the poor man of 88, who had already lost his wife and one daughter to cancer, in the last few years, and now his younger daughter had died.

    He was disabled, had no savings at all, and after spending over an hour on the phone, giving his info, I was able to secure a Bereavement Grant for him. No flowers, no cars, no minister, but he could arrange her funeral. He was so worried that his efforts would look Spartan, but I assured him it would be tasteful, dignified and filled with his love, and that his beloved daughter would Rest In Peace, knowing that her Dad had done his very best.

    And then I came home and cried for him. xxx
     
  15. bemused1

    bemused1 Registered User

    Mar 4, 2012
    3,403
    Scarlett that is such a sad post and hopefully the saddest time you will face.
    But such a sign of your giant heart that you can share the grief of the poor man you helped in spite of your own. Many of us have benefited from said giant heart. Look after it , it's early days yet.
     
  16. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    6,968
    Brixham Devon
    Hi Scarlett-I'm so pleased to read your positive post. Well done for doing your very best for trying to get on with life after Dementia.

    Well, you seem so busy. No time to relax for you. Your CAB job sounds very fulfilling-just up your street being as helpful as you are. I hope you and your family have a peaceful time when you commit John's ashes and you enjoy the time with your family.

    You're doing well Scarlett

    Love to you and Billy

    XXX from Big Billy and Cindy and me
     
  17. truth24

    truth24 Registered User

    Oct 13, 2013
    5,726
    North Somerset
    How grateful he must have been for your help, Scarlett. How are you doing, Lyn, or would you rather not share. As you know, I often think of you and WIFE too with the three of you losing your loved ones at more or less the same time. Hope all is as well as can be. Verityxxx
     
  18. Ash148

    Ash148 Registered User

    Jan 1, 2014
    276
    Dublin, Ireland
    Dear Scarlett, like others, I am so glad to hear from you. Yours was one of the most distinct "voices" for me when I first joined TP. I can completely understand your success in your new role. I admire your courage and your honesty.
     
  19. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    6,968
    Brixham Devon
    Thanks for asking Verity-all is ok:) I;m about to update my thread.

    Love

    Lyn T XX
     
  20. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    3,802
    Essex
    Lovely to hear from you, Lyn. You and I, WIFE and Diane, all lost our husbands together, and held their funerals in the first couple of weeks of this year. That's when I penned my ode "The January Lads".

    How did we all function, and how do we go on. Bless you and Cindy. xxx
     

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