Sneaks up on you


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
The past few days I have been staying at the coast on the Gower in Wales as I needed a break.

On the way home today I called in to Neath to see Jan's eldest sister, who is 15 years older than Jan, to bring her up to date as she never visits Jan in her care home. [Jan is the baby of the family.]

When we were talking I suddenly noticed - for the first time, really - those of her expressions and mannerisms that are the same as Jan's once were - and sometimes still are. Facially they are quite similar, though I never thought that before. My memory of how Jan was before she became so devastatingly ill has faded so I guess my brain is playing tricks with me.

Has anyone else had this unnerving and very upsetting thing happening? I really found myself badly affected by it.


Registered User
May 20, 2004
Most definitely Bruce!

Sadly it is the likeness of my Aunt to my Dad as she dozes in her chair, sometimes looking grey and drawn just as Dad did when he was ill. I have to blink hard and swallow - some people may liken it to thinking you've seen a ghost.

Even if you are looking at a healthy person and seeing flashes of "before" it must be pretty unnerving. It's like you are looking through the person in front of you and seeing the other.

After this happening on several occasions I am now not quite as easily caught out - the defences are up!



Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
I look at Peg and I can see her looking more like her mother allthough Peg is older now than her mother was when she died.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Not having known Lionel long enough to have knowledge of past relatives, I can only guess what you are all going through. My heart goes out to you all. Love Connie


Registered User
Apr 4, 2004
About a year ago I saw a little old lady coming up the drive of the carehome and thought 'Gosh mum looks great today' only to realise it was her older sister who had ben visitng her. Like Brucie says, the mind plays tricks..
S xx


Registered User
May 1, 2005
hi Brucie {{{hugs}}}

I regularly get flashes back to my childhood and how strong dad was...

now my mum is becoming the mum i remember as a child, carefree, fun, and loving.
she lost all of that in the past i dont know how many years

time is a funny thing i find

love Jane x


Registered User
Jul 9, 2003
South Coast
I can feel for all of you!

I have this syndrome in spades, as my husband's brother, who, with his partner, has been an absolute tower of strength throughout the ten years of my husband's illness and then since I was diagnosed with cancer last year, is my husband's identical twin!

People often ask me I have ever mistaken them for each other (could be embarrassing, I guess), but the answer is no - for the first twenty years of our marriage my brother-in-law was clean-shaven and had very short hair, whereas my husband has a beard and let his hair grow a bit longer. It was not just physical appearance, there was also something quite different to me about their bearing and way of moving. Since my b-in-law moved nearby some six years ago he has grown a beard and has longer hair! We live in a small town, and loads of people stopped my B-in-Law in the street in the first few years he lived here, thinking it was my husband, they are that alike!

In theory this should make him look just like my husband now, but sadly in that time my husband has lost weight and changed physically, so they still don't look quite alike. I could always hear the similarity in their voices, and it still makes me jump occasionally when I hear my brother-in-law talking, but my husband has more or less lost the ability to speak, and certainly can't put two words together.

I sometimes find it very hard now when I see the difference between them, as thank God my brother-in-law is fit and well, but it hurts to see that my husband''s arms are about half the size of his brothers, and his face is much thinner - he is gradually wasting away.

So I have a constant reminder of how my husband could have been, and what our lives might have been like if it had not been for this dreadful disease. For example, when my brother-in-law and his partner go on holiday I can't help thinking about all the things that my hubby and I have lost, although I am so relieved that my B-in-Law is OK and able to enjoy life to the full. It also alleviates some of the worry I had that there is a genetic component in my husband's illness, as I have two sons.

One compensation - my younger son's girlfriend (a lovely, caring person) goes with my son to visit my husband, although she never knew him when he was even reasonably well - and we all know that visiting someone on a dementia ward is not a particularly good experience. I told her how much I admired her for this, and how grateful I am for the support this gives to my son, and she said that she felt she knew what my husband had been like through meeting his brother quite frequently, and that she knew that she would have enjoyed his company. What a treasure!

So the odd glimpses you get when you see something in a relative of your loved one - I know what you are talking about, but I have had to get used to it, as it is constantly there for me, but I am so grateful for the support I get from my brother-in-law that it outweighs any pain I feel when I catch those glimpses.

Hope this message hasn't been to much of a ramble, but I had the last of this set of chemotherapy a few days ago, and am not feeling too bright (it's called chemo brain or chemo fog, and that's exactly what it feels like!).

In the words of the master - "Day by Day"

love Ruthie


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Ruthie, thank you for continuing to post when you are going through so much with your own health. Hope by now the chemo-fog is lifting a little. Take care of yourself, love Connie.