Silence

Sometimes silence can be deafening!

Here I am in my 80th year, the eldest child in a family of six children. I like company I am gregarious I am not used to being alone. married for 61 years.Life was full of fun companionship and noise..love and laughter

3 years ago whilst caring for my Husband who was living with Dementia I was looking for tranquility!

Now I have it, as he is no longer in my care,  but thanks to Covid 19 I hate it. I cannot visit him. I cannot visit Family unless they are local to me. I miss my activities and friends I shared them with.

Books  (my local Library delivered a bagful ) and Tv are the only outlet and sadly the TV seems to have an awful lot of rubbish  and lots of repeats. The books have been a boon and I am almost finished a third one in 2 weeks!

. Browsing Netflix offers very little that I have not already seen or stuff full of violence or pornography……not entertainment in my view.

I apologise for the negativity..this is my only outlet ……If I chat with neighbours I have to show a positive face..and it’s mostly current affairs. If I chat with family it is to enquire about them. I don’t feel I can open up to them.

I have lots of days when I feel very low…I know I shouldn’t for I am fairly fit and healthy and lack for nothing………………

Now I am doubting whether I should publish this at all…………………….

Alone isolated abandoned!

at various times on different days I feel all of the above  at other times I am ok.

Sometimes I just feel lonely, yearning for conversation and at other times I am ok with quietness.

Some days the phone does not ring at all, the postman does not come, even the milkman has let me down once or twice. Sitting down to my evening meal alone… That is when I feel isolated.

No one invites me to join them……..I invite myself…..this is when I feel abandoned.

I have never felt this way in my whole life up until now. this terrible pandemic is taking it’s toll on me.

When it comes to looking for distraction via the TV most evenings I draw a blank.

It seems there are only repeats, reruns or just absolute rubbish. Even looking at iplayer or Netflix offers very little in the way of good entertainment that I haven’t seen before.

Oh dear how negative this is!!!

But there is ZOOM!!  Table talk on Saturday morning, study group on Wednesday evening, Quiz nights with various groups Choir practice on Friday and the occasional Whatsapp!  However…..seeing folk on a computer screen is not the same as real Human contact…………….how long will it be before we can relax in the company of friends and family again?

 

Lockdown

March 23rd I went into ‘lockdown’!

No letter to tell me I needed to be sheilded yet BHF posted in one of their emails that anyone suffering with Angina and who had had an Angioplasty might be more at risk from the Corona  virus.

Having just got into a routine of visiting my Husband in Care the fact that I could no longer visit him was a blow.

Then began the constant worry of the care Home being a dangerous place as much of the news was focussing on the number of deaths occuring in them!

John ‘s behaviour began to be challenging for the staff….another source of worry.

And all the time I had to keep up the appearance of being fine..yes I have plenty to do..no I am ok…..and the days were longer and the lack of conversation and socialising with others were taking their toll.

Fortunately Staff at the Care home were pro-active and sought help for John and after consultation with other professionals a medication was prescribed. After being on it for three weeks he is a different person….Joining in activities, eating well, having conversations with staff and making jokes…it is wonderful to hear.

We tried skyping previously without much success but now he will engage, if only for a few minutes, and recognises me!!!

The Care home have a Facebook portal now so they post things regularly and it is good to see John looking so well.

Good news too was the fact that all residents and staff were tested for the Virus and proved negative. They were retested again this week with the same result

Meanwhile I am very lonely and missing family terribly. Especially as I am seeing them getting together and enjoying the new babies..I am beginning to feel rather left out.

OK there is Whatsapp and zoom but it is not the same. Now the restrictions are being lifted but I cannot join anyone’s ‘bubble’ nor has anyone asked me to join theirs!

All my activities were suspended from the outset and it looks as though it will be ages before they can be resumed as they involve large groups.I stand at my front room window and watch the world go by.I want for nothing but conversation and company!

When I ventured out after 10 weeks I was extremely nervous. I went to post a letter and called into the local greengrocer who has kindly been delivering to me up until now.

Luckily I have a garden to potter in and that was good when the weather was fine. I am not one for watching TV in the daytime and find it hard to find anything worth watching anyway.

I had to put these thoughts down……my head was bursting with them and I know I am not alone in this situation but that is not much comfort.It looks as though I must learn to be content with zoom gatherings and Facetime calls for a bit longer.

 

 

Being needed

I guess I have experienced being needed almost all my life.

As the eldest child in a growing family I was needed to help my Mother

I recall the jobs that were assigned to me and I never questioned being expected to do them.

in time I would accompany my brother and sister to school before making my way to my my own school….I honestly don’t remember going to collect them!!!

Later in life , married and bringing up my own family I knew the responsibility and knew that I was needed by my children in many ways. As the years went by and they grew and flew the nest felt empty but I suppose the fact that I was now working with other peoples children helped to compensate.

Grand children came along and in a small way I was needed again to help and advise and spend time with them. Now they too are grown and are having children of their own!

in later life came the shock of having to care full time for a loved one who was slowly drifting away due to Dementia. I was certainly needed almost 24/7 although he may not have realised that he needed me to be there.

Sadly now I feel I am not needed at all living alone as my loved one needed more care than I could continue to give and lives in Care. I know he is safe and well cared for but I still feel bad about him being there. These thoughts and the loneliness are a heavy burden to bear.

I have family and friends I know and plenty of activities but sometimes even among them I am lonely. My deepest thoughts and feelings cannot be laid bare.

How many people are there out there with the same feelings? We are social beings and not meant to be alone.

Being alone

So here I am spending my evenings watching catch up TV or knitting or wondering who I can ring to have a chat with!

After all that time trying to cope with my Husband who was disappearing into the cruel world of Dementia I no longer have him with me

This afternoon , together with two of our beautiful grand daughters, I spent time with him in his new home. A lovely residential Care Home ,warm welcoming spacious and friendly. We can visit anytime..no restrictions.

Today he knew who I was but Katie and Lucy were just two beautiful girls to him. He smiled and laughed with them and we did Jigsaw puzzles together. It was sad for all three of us to see how much he had changed.

On New Years Eve I went with our Eldest son and his wife…John didn’t recognise them.He told them I was his lovely wife…………he asked me where I lived and was I ok!We managed to get him to sit down for a while.   Staff tell me he is always on the move, that he eats well and is biddable and compliant.

There is nothing for me to worry about. He is well cared for but I  do so miss him. After 60 years of marriage it is not surprising, but I know it is for the best that I no longer have responsibility for his care.

Life is so different when you live alone. I am busy during the day with friends and activities but the evenings are long…..

but then it’s a new year, a new decade and I’d best put my best foot forward and get on with it!

Sorrow

do you wake every day with a feeling of foreboding?

Are there tears behind your eyes as the day goes by?

is there a constant sadness in your heart for one who is lost?

are there times when you need a shoulder to weep on

or a hug to comfort you?

who would have thought it would come to this?

 

 

grief and loss

who can you talk to when you feel so lonely and lost, grief stricken and full of guilt?

Certainly not your immediate family who are full of life spending time together and

presumably completing plans for whatever they have arranged for your ‘big’ birthday

this coming Sunday!! Something that does not include their Dad!

so my husband of 60 years has been in Respite care for 2 weeks now. For the first few days he was very unsettled and walked around with his suitcase packed ready to go home!

I saw on FB a quote yesterday..!INSIDE EVERY PERSON WITH DEMENTIA HIDES A BEAUTIFUL LOST SOUL SEARCHING FOR HIS OR HER WAY HOME’

How painful it must be..who knows what they feel, how they must suffer!

He is not eating well and is constantly on the move. I am upset and anxious knowing this and feel as though I have sent him to prison…

I have tried to fill my days with activities which are impossible when he is at home….

I even went to the Cinema today to see the much publicised long awaited version of Downton Abbey!  I have to say for 2 hours I was with them all and even remembered vividly my day at Highclere House a few years ago with my sisters, John and a brother in law.

But deep down I felt this awful loneliness……I didn’t want to come home to this empty house . I am grieving his loss even though he is still alive

My daughter said it must be great to be able to watch TV or do whatever I want but when there is a heavy weight sitting on your shoulders it is not

No one can know the pain a carer suffers unless they experience it themseelves.

Support anything that is aimed at finding help for those living with Dementia

and pray for them…

 

 

Weekends

Well here I am again sitting on my bed, nothing better to do on a Saturday evening than play word games or do crossword or write this blog.

where would I rather be? Out enjoying the latter end of the day with friends or family or at the theatre for a concert or a musical.

Sadly all are things of the past.  Any excursions have to be fitted into 2 hour slots when Carers are here. Sometimes I feel like a refugee looking for somewhere to go . I am not one for retail therapy.

Some days are ok. I have a chairobics session with a few friends.

Once a fortnight I Volunteer in my local Library shelving returns chatting with borrowers and finding requested books.

On the alternative weeks I play Scrabble with a friendly group of Ladies!

Appointments for manicures and hairdos are fitted in too!

I should be thankful I can do these things but how I hate the weekends!

Taking my Husband out is a definite no no! We have tried taking a trip to the local Country Park but he can’t cope with crowds and noise! The only place we can go is family but they are often away at weekends. Even then he won’t stay for long…after tea and cake he is asking to go home.

it is so lonely and wearing. Every evening I have to listen to constant requests to be taken home……..It is endless. No matter how hard I try to distract him he goes on and on. Fortunately he is fixated on going to bed at a certain time and will take himself off leaving me to shut everything down, switch off any music or TV and creep into my room and lock the door for fear of being disturbed in the middle of the night.

this is not the life I expected

Despair

my heart is breaking

my eyes are full of tears

my husband of more than 60 years

cannot remember he is married to me

Looking through photos of family

he is not able to name anyone

looking at holiday pictures he knows not where we were

time of day seems to mean nothing to him

morning or evening are all the same

he rearranges clothes in the drawers

and changes his trousers several times

there seems to be no rhyme or reason

all is muddle and confusion

and I am going crazy too!

half an hour ago he was getting ready for bed

now he has rushed out to the garden

there is something that needs trimming

and it must be done

nothing will persuade him it is not the time for gardening

I cannot do this anymore……………………………..

Tomorrow he will be interviewed by a social worker

who knows what will transpire………………….