Recently, someone close to me has been diagnosed with dementia.I find myself worrying about her while I watch the horrible process of her losing her awareness. She can no longer read (although she can still write) so emails and letters don't work. Phone conversations are difficult , as she forgets a word and we play I spy through the alphabet until we (sometimes) hit the jackpot. Skype is great though! She can see who she is talking to , and though she sometimes wanders off for a while we manage to have quite long conversations.Even if I'm not always certain that she remembers I'm there!
Anyhow, there I was, painting by the lake, when a woman about my age walked out of the bush.We both said hi and she stopped to see what I was doing. Turned out that she is an artist also - with a studio inside what used to be the lunatic asylum (horrible term) in Hokitika. We got talking about the building and the people who must have been patients there.
Then she told me about her schizophrenic Dad , who she visited every day while he was in hospital , talking to him even though he didn't respond and was going through awful psychotic stuff. And finally , a couple of weeks before he died he became lucid and she realised that all along he had known that she was talking with him .
"Don't ever give up and stop talking" was her advice. I am constantly amazed how often a stranger will turn out to have something wise to say to me at the right moment.
This painting was done for me by my friend when I myself was very ill - the writing on it reads
"A way through many layers of happiness
and myriad hues of friends and family and love
If it wasn't for the darker bits in our lives we wouldn't be able to see the pretty lights".
If you know someone suffering from a neurological illness please don't give up on them - you may not think they notice your love, but you might just be the anchor that they need..