Who Am I?

Once upon a time I used to be a wife, a mother, a cook, a baker, a gardener and so much more.

Then dementia hit. 

Then I became a caregiver. 

Everything else stopped. Dementia took over every part of our lives. His life. My life. 

Anything that was done now had to be weighed against how it would affect dementia. 

I didn't mind though. The hours were long. The stress was high. I fought hard for his rights as a person that dementia had a grip on. When I thought I couldn't go on I somehow found the strength and determination to go just one more day. Then another, and another. 

Meals became simplified or non-existent depending on what dementia wanted that day or that moment. 

There was no more escaping to my woman cave to work on projects. Dementia made sure that as soon as I did get involved in something that it threw a wrench in. I finally just gave up. 

Being in the kitchen became a chore. Meals prepared that went uneaten because it's not what dementia wanted that day. 

Tasks like cleaning the house revolved around what dementia wanted that day. Dementia didn't like noises, lights or smells. 

Dementia doesn't reason so it refuses to argue. What dementia says goes. That meant smelly, messy ferrets or midnight runs to find seafood. Dementia doesn't make smart decisions. It was up to me to ensure safety when the decisions dementia made were bad. 

Dementia is afraid of showers. Dementia thinks it just had a bath. Dementia got mean. Very mean. Dementia just ate. Dementia hasn't eaten in days!

Dementia took over my sweet and gentle husband. I would get mad at dementia. Frustrated. I would yell at dementia. Then I would cry because dementia was living in my husband's body and he never deserved me yelling at him.

Dementia liked repetition. The same movie over and over and over and over.

Dementia doesn't have a sleep schedule.

Dementia wants what it wants NOW.

Dementia stole my husband and with it stole who I was.

Now dementia has left. It took my husband with it. There is an enormous empty deafening silence where it was. Dementia took my husband long before it left. Sometimes dementia would let him visit. Precious stolen moments. The emptiness now...it's too much.

I don't have a reason to jump. I can't find my desire because my desire was him. Dementia stole my identity too.

I won't allow dementia to keep my identity. I will find it again. Someday. One little piece at a time. Dementia has a strong grip. I try each day to find a piece. It hasn't happened yet. I have faith that someday, maybe even months from now that it will loosen it's grip on me.

Until then, be patient and kind. Don't tell me to suck it up. Telling me things like that might cause me to rip something off your face that you find valuable. Yeah, dementia has left some anger in it's wake.

For now just understand that I have forgotten how to live because dementia stole my life too. Know that each day I ask myself "Who am I?" Know that my grief is deep. Know that I am inside here fighting my way out.

Know I have a mission to complete. Promises made that won't go unresolved.

Know that just because I need space it doesn't mean I want you to stay away forever. I still need help because I'm not doing the best job with me right now.


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