While we don’t want it to happen, as the disease progresses we sometimes find the lines begin to blur around the present moment and remembering our loved ones before their journey in living with Alzheimer’s began. It’s also hard when the people who come into our lives during the caring stages and see our loved ones, but not as we once knew them. I know how important it was for me to tell the doctors, nurses and care staff all about Mum – how talented she was, and how she had been so loving and full of such fun.
The staff loved the two large boards I made and hung on the wall beside Mum’s bed. They were covered with photos telling Mum’s story, because she was no longer able to speak for herself. All the most important moments with the special people she loved and her loved her. I didn’t want Mum to be defined by her illness, I desperately wanted people to know who she really was and had always been.
There is a passage in a book called, ‘The Chimes’, where author, Anna Smaill, beautifully describes the significance of sharing memories, not only to honour those who have gone before us, but also to make sense of our own lives:
“But some memories are more important than others,’ she says. ‘Because some memories belong to more than just one other person…Some memories tell us about who we are. They need to be kept safe so that things can change for all of us.”