I look at you, reminding myself of how you once knew me, you may know me by name, but it is almost as if it means nothing to you anymore. I’m not the child I once was, although you may still see me that way.
Does it hurt? Well, maybe a little, not because I feel like it’s deliberate – I really do understand that it is the furthest thing from the truth – it’s more because I spent all my life around you and now, because of some unknown element, it’s almost like none of it ever happened. I guess that’s the thing with Dementia, isn’t it?
Grandpa – It’s a title you go by, but don’t particularly understand why, maybe some deeper part of your mind is fully aware of what is happening to you. I know you’d hate to see yourself like this, just as much as it kills me inside to know that I’ll never experience the same version of you that I once had, like when you pulled the sled over the snowy hills that my brothers and I sat on.
I know you will never read this, even if you did I know it wouldn’t really affect you. Again, it’s not your fault, but I want you to know, that even though I don’t visit your care home all that often – I miss you. Though seeing you again wouldn’t make me feel much better, it would only remind me further of the man I looked up to so much as a role model, and how he isn’t really here anymore.
I love that you still sing along with Perry Como, just like you always did. Your house feels empty without your singing, you don’t do it much anymore, but it always makes me feel so happy when I do get to hear you sing. Your recital of Burns’ poetry always makes me feel so proud, albeit uneducated in the verses of the man who shares a birthday with me.
Maybe you can still hear the call of family somewhere inside you, it’s not like you don’t recognize us, but perhaps ‘remember’ is a bit of a strong word. You see these people in front of you, you know that they are familiar to you, you want to remember, but the words never came to mind, and I can almost see a permanent sadness in you now, which really kills me.
I sit at night, remembering what it was like spending weekends with you and Gran, and your sisters, and my brothers, it was great. I miss it, I would try screaming as loud as I could if I had even a tiny hope that it would bring you back to your old self. But I can’t do it.
I don’t know anymore.
Why is it so hard to deal with the concept of Dementia? Especially when my gran – your wife – is suffering from Alzheimer’s as well. I know I’ll only struggle more and more with each passing day.
One day you won’t be here anymore. I promise to keep the memories you would want me to have of you, not the ones you’re being forced to create.