“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind its faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein
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My father was diagnosed with dementia in his early seventies, and sadly passed away in 2012 with dementia related illnesses. The hardest part of this illness is losing the ability to remember and communicate. There are many articles written on how to communicate with someone who has dementia, however, I have often found myself wondering if those we know and love with dementia could communicate, what would they say.
In remembering my father, and for all those people who cope with this cruel disease in all its forms on a daily basis, I have penned this poem which I hope will bring comfort and understanding.
I cannot remember yesterday, it’s a vast space of emptiness where words used to exist.
Clutching at fragments of sentences lying buried under a jumble of meanings which has now become my mind, I’m lost.
Was that a look of pity I saw on your face for just a fraction of a second, followed by a sigh so soft it almost escaped my notice, but not quite.
How the sorrows of other times come running in to haunt me, how vivid those memories which I have suppressed for so long, wanting to forget, yet never really trusting the enemy which is my mind to do my bidding.
When did the books I so love to read never get finished. Their pages become corridors littered with verbs and adjectives I do not understand, must I rewrite the ending in my imagination where I do not need words to express myself.
If I take a nap try to understand I am merely recharging my batteries in preparation for the next round of shadows, playing in the recesses of my memory.
The past has now become my future, I almost enjoy re-visiting my childhood – almost. I will not give in to this cruelty they call dementia. I only forgot two things yesterday, where I lived and who you were.
I do not want to scare you, I love you far too much for that. I intend to hold on with all my might to everything I hold dear, only please remember when you look at me that I’m still here.
By Lorna Bergamasco
Great progress has been made in finding a cure for dementia, however to date it is still in the testing phases. Understanding the many facets of this disease, not only from a medical point of view, will take away the fear enabling us to find those hidden meanings through love, empathy and patience, giving us hope for a brighter tomorrow.