I know I am one of many. I know that my ask is no more or less special than all the others who stretch themselves for a good cause. But I am asking for your help, and in return I am going to try and ride the Etape du Dales which is a 114 mile cycle in the Yorkshire Dales on the 19th May this year and climb over 1.5 miles over that journey. The Etape du Dales is an extremely difficult ride and requires an excellent level of fitness which I have been working hard to achieve for the last year.
In 2018 my Mum was found to have dementia. The exact caused not diagnosed. The extent of this impairment is not severe compared to many cases, at least today. She can still do anything a healthy but frail 80 year-old can do…that is except for one crucial thing: remember. Unfortunately, my Mum’s memory has been all but wiped, and will never to return. 65+ years has evaporated. Only some of the first memories up to the age of 12-15 still exist.
To the onlooker a reasonably well and able old lady. But unfortunately, what soon becomes apparent is the shine in her eyes has dulled. They no longer reflect her knowledge; her experience; her memory of her first love; she does not remember giving birth; or being very ill with tuberculosis; she does not remember her 1st husband of 35 years or the fact she has a son, or a grandson and granddaughter. She doesn’t even remember or know her brother. Her memory loss is profound and complete. My Mum is now Susan a girl from Orpington.
Of-course for me and my family this is a terrible story. My mum and I were never close and now we never will be. I see my Mum, I hear my Mum but everything that defines our relationship is only my memory and that is terrible because this makes our relationship incomplete. Because, now it becomes clear, to me at least, life is in the relationship in what you remember together – not what you remember independently.
No matter how much we lose our physical ability and that is terrible too…but losing your life and still being alive for me is worse.
As such I am supporting the Alzheimer’s Society who are transforming the landscape of dementia forever. Until the day they find a cure, they will create a society where those affected by dementia are supported and accepted, able to live in their community without fear or prejudice.