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dementia journey - Page 8 - Carers UK Forum

dementia journey

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
167 posts
((Hugs)) Peter. What you have written is absolutely right. It's a way of looking after yourself. After spending so many years as a couple, it's really difficult to focus just on yourself. After all, marriage is absolutely the opposite.

We always had that "you and me against the world" feeling, between us we could tackle anything life threw at us. Then all of a sudden the other half of the team wasn't there.
MY OH was a top mechanic, he could mend anything, and I had this irrational fear of the car breaking down, to the extent I really didn't want to go out, although I had to. In the New Forest, where I live, the bus service is non existent.
Finally, I wondered how others managed. I remembered my husband's closest friend, never married, lived alone, absolutely hopeless with anything practical, even I was better than him. He managed. So I decided if he could drive his car quite happily, so could I. In any case I was in Green Flag, and my eldest son is also a good mechanic.
Trying to pinpoint this sort of coping strategy really helps, whatever the problem is.

Do you have a hobby or interest you never had time for, or is there anything you've always fancied doing but your wife didn't like?
Try to think of NEW things for you, it can be large or small ambitions.
I'd never been to a live concert, so that was on my wish list. (I went to see Katherine Jenkins. Very disappointing, but I did it.
I'd always wanted to go to the Med on holiday, but when my husband was alive summers were spent at lorry and steam engine events. I went to Crete, and loved it. It's become my "special place" now.
I love sewing, but never managed to put an invisible zip in well. I went on a course, and can now do it well.
Even growing your own tomatoes if you've never done it before can be interesting, in fact anything garden related fills the time and gets you out in the fresh air, so you sleep better.
You know, this visiting business is a bit Catch 22. I go because I believe if I don’t I’m letting her down somehow and when I go I feel let down because it upsets me seeing her, my wife, away from me when in an ideal world we would be together .

So I get uneasy about going but I can’t not go!

Anyway, I found a little project. I’m stripping the old paint off of our kitchen table and bringing the wood back to its original. That’ll keep me out of mischief!
I love doing things like that, it's so satisfying.
My son has the drills, but I have an armoury of sanders!
Two mouse sanders, a pad sander, and two larger ones. As we've converted the garage for me, I can only do it outside on the patio when the weather is good now. I have a pile of things to do when it gets warmer, then I varnish them.
I was in a slightly better position than you, as I could visit hubby covid free .Met several visitors. Made friends with a couple. We all felt the same, desperate to see our loved ones,but the dread was always there.
I've never sanded anything, but have a little project am going to try when the weather improves. A little child's chair that am going to have a go with. Hopefully, make it decorative for display somewhere.
My table is coming on nicely. All old paint gone now the good bit with the varnish.
I went to see Bridget today. It’s only for moments as it’s through the window, they first need to find her and when they do she really only attentive for a minute or so till she off again walking.

So she’s content I’m told which is something I suppose. So I go back to the car after seeing someone who has forgotten all the life we had and me. What a waste.

I can’t make sense of it, I really can’t. And when I try it just ties me in knots. There’s a barrier there, not only physical but emotionally as well that I’ll never break through even when I’m allowed in eventually. She looks like Bridget my wife but she could well be a stranger and the longer it goes on the more distant we’ll be from each other.

And this is on my mind each day. The problem with retirement is that no one demands my time so there’s no diversion. We were going to have all this time together until dementia killed that.

goodnight and bless you all
It is terribly sad that you and Bridget were denied your retirement together. However, please don’t say your life together was a waste. Those years spent together are not devalued because Bridget has dementia.

The table project sounds satisfying. You could post us some before and after pics.

Peter, be glad for the happy times you had.
I was widowed at the age of 54, so lots of my dreams of retirement went. Try not to dwell on negative things, you must find new positive thoughts. It takes practice.
Peter, I haven’t been on for a couple of weeks so have been catching up with your posts.

You mention children - are you sharing your feelings with them?

also, there is someone on another thread called Nigs and his wife has recently gone into a care home and he’s feeling low too. maybe the two of you could have a good old chat.
I had resentment feelings about my own retirement. Had one year, then hubby started his strokes and dementia. Wasn't good for my mental health to hang on to the resentment. He couldn't help what happened, any more than I could. So I kicked the resentment away, and thought of happy times. Not always, admittedly, but won't allow bitterness in. Your life with Bridget hasn't been a waste.
Yes, of course I’m happy that Bridge has a good home and that she’s well looked after. I had no choice when it happened back in 2019 and I was lucky that the available home turned out to be a good one.

I’m almost getting used to this being on my own now but that comes with its downside too. Because I’m only see her through the window 3 times a week at most for 5 minutes then I’m just someone who turns up now and again. Couple that with her dementia then there is no chance of any meaningful relationship so the bond has weakened considerably.
So I look at pictures of her and it’s almost like I’m looking at someone I used to know, a different life altogether. This is difficult to explain. It’s like when a loved one moves abroad for a long time with no end date ( say for work) and you keep in touch best you can, but life goes on and you get on with your life but the physical connection has gone. Now add on dementia and a complete forgetting of who you are and you only have your memories to both comfort and upset you, then it’s something like that.

My life was her and me, our lives were one another. And now she’s in a different world that I can’t visit. If I accept this situation and build a life of my own then I’m finally saying that I accept you are gone and I can’t do that.

Grief messes with your mind because it takes you out of normality and dumps you in world you never wanted

167 posts