On the 14th February 2021, it will be two years since my beloved wife and soulmate Julie died. I was heartbroken.
Two years have passed and not one day goes by without me thinking of her. Some good things, some funny, some sad.
For the first twenty years we were an equal partnership, and one of the tracks on the CD ‘Care Comfort Compassion’, which I produced in her memory is a beautiful song from the film Beaches, ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’. For me, it recognizes the help we gave each other and as the Quaker reading says, will now help me onwards.
For the latter ten years, the first five were increasingly confusing as the dementia progressed almost unnoticed. After formal diagnosis of vascular dementia in 2015, almost every aspect of a normal life and partnership deteriorated.
Some of the most distressing aspects of diagnosis were CT and MRI scans which are alarming, noisy and must be really distressing for the dementia patient. During the period before diagnosis there were several bone fractures, an arm fracture and a serious trauma to her head. What goes with these incidents are questions to the patient about – where do you live, where are we, what is your name and date of birth. None of which can be answered. This is very disturbing to watch.
From my point of view, it was very sad to see a wonderful, charismatic woman fade away not only mentally but physically. It was never a chore to care for Julie, but a little fraught at times.
At 0823 on Valentine’s Day 2019, I lost the love of my life and my world fell apart.
Now, two years on, I can honestly say I would not have wished all the Covid 19 issues on Julie, or me. She would not, could not have understood. The thought of her thinking I had left her would have disturbed her mind. She would not have been able to communicate that and it would have made her even more distressed. Sadly, I remember one time I had to leave Julie in respite care and when I returned to collect her, she was very tearful as she thought I had abandoned her. That really makes you think.
The second track on the CD is a poem by Owen Darnell. It helps you understand what the dementia sufferer is going through and will help you in caring for your loved one. It helped me and I sometimes wish I had discovered it sooner.
If she was still here now, medication would have been increased, she may, and probably would have forgotten me and I am delighted to say she never did and was always pleased to see me.
Julie departed this world and gave me back my life. What a life without Julie. But I have a life and hope and should work to make best use of it.
So, for all carers think positive and remember the good lives you had and what you have been released to live.
Forever in my thoughts Julie Ann Alexis McCreadie 10.10 1946 – 14.02 2019